The death of Jesus on the cross brought desolation, despair, a sense of loss to those who had loved and admired Him. The disciples on the road to Emmaus spoke for all of them, “Our hope had been that He would be the one to set Israel free,” (Lk.24.21).
It is into this emptiness that the risen Jesus begins to pour FAITH – belief that He, thought to be a disappointing failure, was, in fact, a triumphant hero.
From the first day of the week following His crucifixion Jesus appeared to His friends with greetings such as, “Be not afraid, peace be with you, give me some food, look at my wounds, even touch them, I’m not a ghost!”
Joyfully the Easter Liturgy has celebrated His Resurrection. However, before any such joy there were some dreadful moments, such as when the closest of His friends found His tomb to be empty. Losing a loved one, then losing His body – undoubtedly here a sense of emptiness and hopelessness.
Upon this Faith Foundation Jesus builds HOPE – confidence of their lives being once more built around Jesus; once more it would be possible to have expectations of Jesus.
On these occasions they overcame their doubts as they received the GIFT OF FAITH so as to believe that Jesus had, indeed, achieved what He came to do – conquer sin and death and then pass into Glory.
What is more, by His resurrection from the dead Jesus had extracted hope out of the ashes of despair. This GIFT OF HOPE answered the question, “How does this personal triumph of Jesus affect us?”
Interesting that the first person to be assured of a future with Jesus was the thief hanging on cross next to Him! "In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise,” (Lk23.43).
As for ourselves, we can take to ourselves what Jesus said to Martha, “I am the Resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die,” (Jn.11.25).
What better could we hope for?
Peter Clarke, O.P.