The resurrection of the Lord Jesus changes the world, but most in the world choose not to believe anything has changed at all. In fact, news of the resurrection is met with defiance by many because they know that if the resurrection is accepted, then their way of life must change.
Change is never easy and it is a sad fact that many people would rather choose to be ruined than to change.
The change that the resurrection necessitates is not a kind of vague openness to the new or unfamiliar or change for the sake of change or change for the sake a progress, but it is acceptance of a new way of life, a way of life that is the Church.
The Church is not an institution through which we matriculate or ethnic customs or a social club we support with dues. The Church is a way of life and this way of life originates and has its living source in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In today’s scripture from the Book of Acts the apostles confront the reality that many will not accept either the resurrection of Jesus or the new way of life that is the Church. But this opposition does not deter them from their mission- they will continue to make Christ known and invite people into the Church’s way of life.
In other words, disciples of the Lord Jesus know that their mission is not about being successful in worldly terms, but in being faithful to the mission Christ has given them. Their mission is not to coerce people into believing, but proposing Christ and inviting people to share the gifts that Christ wants people to enjoy- the gifts of faith, hope and love. Sometimes many people will accept Christ’s gifts, other times only a few will, often times it is the conversion of a few to Christ that makes that greatest difference and has the most lasting effect.
The Gospel for today continues this lesson. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus did not instantly convince people to change their lives. Even many who knew Christ intimately and directly did not follow him.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is not a truth of the faith that is hard to understand, but it is difficult to believe. The way of a disciple is not an easy way, but it is a noble way, a beautiful way of life, that like the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, opens up possibilities for us we never dared dreamt were possible, both in this world and in a heavenly world still yet to come.