Tell the Story
Tell the Story

Tell the Story

Third Sunday of Easter. Fr Samuel Burke encourages us to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection.

‘The disciples told their story’, Saint Luke records, about what had just happened on the road to Emmaus and about how, at the breaking of bread, they finally recognised that their new companion was Jesus, their Lord. One can almost feel the excitement in the air. One can almost hear their urgency in sharing the news of what they had seen. And they were so consumed with the business of telling the others, that Jesus comes again and interrupts them mid-flow.

Telling stories about Jesus, sharing news of God’s wonderful works, and witnessing to the Risen Lord remains a vital task for 21st-century disciples as it was two thousand years ago. It’s how the faith was spread — often at great sacrifice and risk — and how it has been passed down through countless generations the world over. In this sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ, no detail is more important than the Resurrection, not least because, as Jesus says, it fulfils the scriptures.

Yet, how good are we at engaging in and performing this vital task? Have you, for example, radiated some of that same joy of the early disciples as they basked in the light of the Risen Lord? Have you greeted people with the traditional Easter greetings like ‘Christ is risen! Alleluia!’? When was the last time — like the Emmaus disciples — you spoke with friends about an encounter with Jesus? Worse, perhaps have you failed to recognise His presence on the altar in body and blood, and among us in his Holy Spirit as an animating force in our lives? Did you, this Easter, choose the bunny over the cross and miss the opportunity and even shirk the responsibility to witness to Christ’s Resurrection? These are searching questions to ask of ourselves.

A philosopher whose books I enjoy reading, Byung Chul Han, has a new one out called ‘The Crisis of Narration’. Han argues that in a fog of instant information, commodified data, and selfie updates, our ability to narrate has degenerated. He surely has a point and, I think, nowhere are the effects of this decline more keenly felt than in the endeavours of evangelisation, catechesis, and mutual encouragement.

One issue is ignorance of the story itself. You cannot speak about what you do not know about. ‘Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ’, Saint Jerome famously declaimed. Yet more problematic than not knowing about Jesus, is not knowing Jesus himself as a person, as a Lord and Saviour, as an intimate friend. Reading scripture and spending time in prayer are humble and faithful works of a lifetime, part and parcel of being a disciple and necessary prerequisites for any evangelist.

Another giant obstacle is sin. Our credibility as truthful storytellers, as sharers of the Gospel, is partly dependent on the way we live our lives. People are rightly reluctant to accept the word of a hypocrite, one who says they know Jesus but doesn’t keep his commandments, as the Second Reading put it. Actually, I think few have the brass-neck for such double standards and so the result of sin is not that the Gospel is shared by sinners and disbelieved but that it isn’t shared at all for fear of being labelled a hypocrite or judged ourselves. Of course, none of us is perfect and so failing to proclaim the Lord because of our own shortcomings is a pernicious state of affairs. Happily, there is a remedy and one that lies in the very thing we seek to proclaim.

When we sin, we have to confess and repent, as Saint Peter said in the First Reading. We repent knowing of the Lord’s victory over sin and death, confident of his forgiveness for all, and thanks to the merits of his loving sacrifice on the Cross. As forgiven and redeemed people we can testify to others that we need not be trapped by our faults and vices in an endless cycle of guilt. Moreover, we seek to avoid sinning again so that obeying his commands, ‘God’s love comes to perfection’ in us. Only by evincing God’s love will the Good News be seen for what it is: authentic; compelling; and transformative.

Jesus tells the disciples, as he tells us, in no uncertain terms ‘you are witnesses to this’. So, dear friends, let’s get witnessing. Tell his story! Tell his story in your story! And tell the stories well, for salvation depends upon this vital task.

Readings: Acts 3:13-15,17-19 | 1 John 2:1-5 | Luke 24:35-48


Fr Samuel Burke is assigned to the Priory of St Albert the Great in Edinburgh, and serves as a chaplain in the Royal Navy.

Comments (3)

  • Charles H Hiebler

    Excellent Homily! Thank you for sharing.

    May the Love and Peace of the Risen Christ continue to bless and be with you.

    Deacon Charlie Hiebler
    Archdiocese of Baltimore
    Maryland, USA

  • Marion Jordaan

    Good afternoon
    i have been receiving the homilies for well over ten years. I live in South Africa. I forward them east and west: New Zealand to England and Ireland. they are warmly welcome and appreciated.
    From time to time I receive positive comment. i wanted to share this comment with you:
    Good morning Marion

    This reflection is so compelling and leaves me with much to ponder.

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful and thought provoking messages.

    Love, prayers and blessings to you.



    Thank you Father Burke
    Great message for us all ,very clear message about our responsibilities to our selves and to our friends and families.


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