Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday and Monday - 2012

(from Empty Tomb Ministry - Canada)

Now that the suffering and death of Jesus dissolve into the glory of His Resurrection, the disciples then and today begin a "now you see me - now you see me differently" experience of the Risen Lord.  Still in a world of shock, no doubt, Mary Magdalene goes to the place where Jesus was buried.  Like anyone who love for a loved one has been so damaged by a difficult death, this Mary could not stay away from the burial site.  What she finds when she arrives there is emptiness.  Someone had rolled back the stone and Jesus' body is not within.  A new shock pains Mary's heart.  She cannot stay there alone.  She runs back to get Peter and John with the news.  The first person to announce the Resurrection is a woman!  Together they hastily go to the burial site.  She was correct:  he is no longer where he had been buried.

So the disciples begin seeking and Jesus leads then to a deeper faith.  It was not sufficient for them to endure the pain of Thursday and Friday and Saturday reflecting on His terrible death and the emptiness that captured their hearts.  

Of course we look back to this first day and the disciples quandary.  Wasn't it difficult enough to endure Jesus' "seeming failure" in his mission to which they had given so much of themselves?    Must they seek Him again in some unknown way?  Yes!  This seeking is the very central core of our Christian faith:  we seek the Lord Jesus, the Risen Lord Jesus every day of our lives.  Yet, the true seeker in the history of our faith is Jesus Christ himself.  He then and now seeks all of us.  During the days before the Ascension, Jesus would appear here and there, actually surprising his closest friends.

However, we do indeed have to be seekers today.  It is not sufficient for us to believe that we have found him once and the searching is over.  Even after believing we have found Him, there will be the moments, the days when our hearts, our emotions, bring us back to emptiness of our lives.  What Jesus is teaching during these next forty days is that his real presence will be found in different realities like our own emptiness, in our relationships with others and in the ecclesial communities we join in our Church, the Church he founded for us.  Like the apostles, most of us try to convince ourselves that it would be so much easier, this faith of ours, if Jesus would just continue his appearances to us, if he would just sit down with us for a cup of coffee.

On a radio presentation last night, the host was interviewing a philosopher.  The host related the guests fondness for hiking.  Surprisingly, the guest pointed out that he did much hiking but that the joy in the ventures were not is reaching the goal of each journey through woods or up mountains was not arriving at the goal.  Rather it was in all of the experiences that were had in coming to the goal.  This was where the true joy of the ventures occurred.  For sure the true joy happened to be in the seeking more so than in the finding.  Isn't Christmas morning much like that:  the excitement in finding what is in the beautifully wrapped gifts left for us -- whether we are youngsters or adults?  And guest on the radio show pointed out that each little discovery along the route to the goal is but the invitation to keep seeking until the goal is reached.  Just when a unique scene is come upon, we know that it is not enough.  We are invited to continue.  Our finding becomes another invitation to continue seeking.

So it is with Jesus.  He is for us the Divine Guide ... always instilling in us the desire for more, for deeper and closer relationships with him.  We can ask ourselves now:  Who am I as a believer?  I am a believer because I really do not know the answer to the fullest.  When a young man comes upon a young lady and the fires of love are ignited in his and her hearts, they seek to find out so much more about each other.  They want to have more of the love that has been enkindled in their hearts.  What the young lovers may or may not realize is that it is a part of the way God made us to want to know more and more.  We continue to hunger for the love of Jesus Christ.  This is indeed the divine game Jesus plays with us to draw us ever closer to Himself and his Father.

Just remember this:  we are believers because we do not know.  Furthermore we grow as genuine human beings, as the God-created reality we are because we continually maintain the pathway through our every day lives.  We know we have not reached the goal yet.  The joy of this journey is in all the little lessons, all the little events where we encounter beauty: of persons and created things in this world we live in.  Happy Easter, dear readers.  You see now, I hope, that there is much significance for us in what we might think is simply a child's game:  the Easter Egg Hunt!!!

There is, I believe, enough here to provide you and me with prayer material for at least two day!!! I will be travelling today to be with my brother.  We will share our Easter day together.  As I now prepare to celebrate the morning Mass at St. Matthias Parish, know that you, my readers, are in my intentions as celebrate the Eucharist.