In a homily from the octave of Easter, Fr. Spitzer discusses two Resurrection narratives and how each illustrate different ways Jesus revealed Himself to those living in His time and continues to reveal Himself to us today.
Fr. Spitzer begins by explaining the two types of Resurrection narratives:
- Jesus appears in a changed form, and His disciples don’t recognize Him until they recognize Him through their hearts.
- Jesus appears in all His glory, power, and spirit, and His disciples don’t recognize Him until He reveals Himself through the wounds of His crucifixion.
Those that experienced the first narrative were the women at the tomb and any other disciple that is not part of the twelve apostles. Those who experienced the second narrative are the twelve apostles.
Relating to the first group
Of the first group—those who first encountered Christ in a changed form, and then recognized Him in their hearts, Fr. Spitzer asks, “What is Jesus trying to do? What is He manifesting?” Fr. Spitzer then responds with:
“He is manifesting the way He works in our lives. He’s manifesting what’s needed for us to respond to Him. Namely, we need to recognize His appearance when He comes and we need to recognize Him specifically in our hearts. As we recognize Him, He gradually reveals Himself to us, until finally, we recognize fully who He is and what He is doing.”
The Road to Emmaus
A concrete example of Jesus appearing in a changed form, so as to be recognized in the heart, is on the road to Emmaus. This Gospel narrative begins with Cleopas and his companion walking the road to Emmaus while feeling utterly dejected and hopeless.
Jesus appears to them as a regular guy and asks what they are discussing. They tell Him of their disappointment and how they thought Jesus was going to be the Messiah who would save the world.
Upon hearing this, Jesus begins to reveal the scriptures to them. Although still not recognizing that the man they are talking to is Christ, they become deeply engaged and interested in what Christ says about the scriptures. At this point, Jesus begins to bring hope back to them and essentially “hooks” them back in.
Once they arrive at their destination, Jesus implies that intends to travel further, but the disciples invite Him to stay for the evening. Once invited in, Jesus then reveals Himself fully to them in the breaking of the bread.
From this narrative, Fr. Spitzer notes two ways in which Jesus works with us:
- He hooks us in with knowledge of the Truth.
- He awaits an invitation before entering our hearts.
Just like with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus awaits our invitation before revealing himself to us in our hearts. Fr. Spitzer concludes his homily with the words:
“The fullness of His Revelation comes when we let Him in. When we become more and more hooked, not just on the New Testament and the Church, but on worship and the ways we try to sense Him through our various ministries. The more we do, the more we open our hearts, and the more He can come in and He reveal Himself fully to us.”
Through worship, scripture, and ministry, let’s travel on the road to Emmaus and become more and more hooked, inviting our Saving Guest deeper and deeper within.
Click here to listen to the audio recording of the actual homily by Fr. Spitzer.
Feature Image Credit: Duccio di Buoninsegna [Public domain]