Human response to events is complex. We observe, experience, make judgements and respond according to evaluations and convictions about these things. What one judges meaningful is what one could proudly and boldly transmit to others, be they families or friends. This process applies particularly to the transmission of the Good News of Christ since bearing witness to the gospel is really an act of conviction. In bearing witness, human beings in their capacity represent that which they have experienced. The author of the First Letter of John puts it beautifully “we declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands… this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it” (cf.1 John 1, 1-4).
More specifically, the apostles in today’s first reading (Acts 3:11-26) bear witness to the death and resurrection of Christ through the healing of the disabled person. Furthermore, they confessed God’s power in the life of Jesus Christ and their faith in the resurrection. For them especially, they are witnesses to the death and resurrection of Christ. They were convinced that God has glorified Jesus and raised him from death and that they are witnesses to these events of our salvation. To this message of resurrection, the disciples announced repentance and conversion for the forgiveness of sins and blessings from God. The call is actually to a new life, a life of the resurrection.
The Gospel (Lk 24, 35-48) narrates an appearance of Jesus to the disciples on the very day of His resurrection. The disciples were terrified at his appearance. Isn’t that strange? The disciples could not believe that it was Jesus Himself when He entered their midst. They were somewhat dismayed and afraid. How does that fit together? Isn’t it the same for us? We could have met Jesus, had beautiful, encouraging experiences with Him, and not believe it the next time that something challenges our faith. What can help us out of this kind of attitude is to remember past encounters with Jesus repeatedly. We have to aware and confident in the trust that He, the Risen One, is and remains present in our midst.
Jesus restored the disciples’ confidence at the breaking of bread and emphasized repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name. His disciples are to be witnesses to the events of his death and resurrection. God continues to manifest his presence among his people in the believers’ own life.
How does one bear witness to the glory of the resurrection and to the life to come? We cannot be witnesses unless we believe. We may not, like the apostles, be able or have the opportunity for a physical encounter with Christ or to cure the sick. But even when He doesn’t appear physically to us, Christ is always in our midst. Every good work that we do makes present the glory of Christ in our midst. We are witnesses to Christ’s death and resurrection through our faith, hope and love. In serving God with our whole heart and through our spirit-filled interactions, we bear witness to Christ’s resurrection. Those who witness to him must live like the risen Christ and proclaim their faith in Christ by the way they live. “That Christ died and rose from the dead on the third day, and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations” (Lk 24,47).
All the believers are invited to be witnesses to this message of the resurrection.