The author of life was put to death, but God raised him from the dead, of this we are witnesses.
Peter, in Acts, tells the people what is the fundamental living truth proclaimed by the Church.
It is the heart of all confessions and creeds.
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
"By dying he destroyed our death and by rising again he restored our life."
So fundamental is this truth that St Paul says
"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching and your faith is in vain"
Christianity stands on this truth (experienced in countless ways from the earliest church till today), Christ is risen from the dead. We stake our own lives on it.
In the second reading John describes what staking our lives on this truth looks like.
The way we may be sure that we know him (that is, be in communion with him) is to keep his commandments. Those that say, I know him, but do not keep his commandments are liars and the truth is not in them, but whoever keeps his word (by living it), the love of God is truly perfected in them.
This reality of knowing and keeping and sharing, that permeates every aspect of our lives, has been described by Jesus as simply loving God and neighbor.
This is not limiting the commandments, Jesus expands them to include every person everywhere, especially the poor, the sick, the broken hearted and the oppressed.
In the Gospel we see this knowing, keeping and sharing in the foreshadowing of the saving activity of the Church - evangelizing - witnessing to the love of God made known in Jesus.
Two disciples recounted how the Risen Jesus was made known to them.
At first we know they fail to recognize him because their faith had not yet been awakened and Jesus himself had be made new.
But, in an action that was familiar yet now new and somehow richer - the Risen Lord was no longer hidden, but was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
In knowing this, their hearts were enflamed and they were compelled to share this knowing.
They could not keep the encounter with Jesus a secret. They must witness (in Faith and Love) to this new truth, this new reality that was still far beyond their understanding.
As the disciples gathered in the room, listening to the two telling them how the Lord was made known to them Jesus appeared, in their midst.
Appeared is an important and accurate word.
He did not enter through the door nor was he discovered hiding in some dark corner.
As the two tell their story, he is simply there.
They were terrified (by the sheer unbelievability of it) and they first thought he was a ghost.
Peace be with you he says to them.
Jesus asks them why they are troubled, why they doubt.
Even has he stood there before them he knew there were many questions in their hearts.
Because disciples were still trying to get their heads around a crucified messiah, much less the risen Jesus. And risen not at the end of time, but in their time.
Like the empty tomb their first thought was the dreadful, but possible Jesus is dead and this is his ghost.
We know that their encounter with Jesus was not some temporary movement the soul.
It was not an otherworldly encounter with a spirit (disembodied and still belonging to the dead).
This was the very real encounter with the very real and very much living Jesus, risen (not resuscitated) from the dead.
Look and see, I am real. Touch and feel, I am he who you love.
He showed them his very real hands and feet.
And they were amazed and overcome in joy.
Jesus asks them for food and this gesture awakens in them the memory and a new understanding of the feeding of the multitude, table fellowship with sinners, the last supper, the two disciples at Emmaus.
This was table fellowship, sharing of bread and wine which they recognized and associated with Jesus of Nazareth, but it is also something new, something Devine, fellowship with the Risen Lord.
And now risen Jesus spoke directly to heart, mind and spirit.
He revealed to them, that everything written about him, every account and prophecy is true and must be fulfilled.
He opened, in and through his Spirit, the scriptures for them.
They began to understand not just with their minds but to believe with their hearts and their whole being that Jesus, is the Christ, and he had to suffer, but that he would be raised, by God, on the third day. In Jesus death had become life.
On that day, in that room, the Risen Lord was made known to them, and it not only changed them, it changed the world.
Jesus was not dead, but living, compelling, life giving and life transforming.
Their encounter with the Risen Lord gave birth to new faith and new hope in them, in us, and for the world.
And this is our faith and because we did not need to see to believe we are especially blessed, because the Lord said
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
And those are us my brothers and sisters.
We who believe and who have received the Holy Spirit in baptism also received Jesus' mission
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.
Jesus has been made known to each of us. We keep him within us by doing his will - to love God and neighbor. And we share this Good News by being sent, as the disciples were sent and as the two who recounted how Jesus was made known to them were sent.
One person telling their story of encounter and conversion.
And isn't it true, that there is no better way of handing on the Gospel than by sharing with another one's own personal experience of the love of God in Jesus.
We who have encountered the Risen Lord now need to go out, as witnesses of these things.