I find it interesting that the Lord did not reveal Himself straight away to everyone in the same manner after He rose from the dead. He revealed Himself slowly in most instances, almost hiding Himself from those who were looking for Him, until the eyes of their faith had been opened and they could see the One they were speaking to was Christ, risen from the dead. We see this with the encounter of St. Mary Magdalene in the Garden, she first thought she was talking to the gardener, before He spoke her name and she recognized Him. We see this too in the encounter that Christ had with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, He walked with them and conversed with them, even sat down to dine with them, and it was then, “in the breaking of the bread,” that they saw Him for who He really was. We can see this too in the rushing of St. Peter and St. John to the tomb, they were looking for him, but at first all they found was an empty tomb before He appeared to them through the locked doors of the Upper Room and revealed Himself by showing His wounds. When the Lord rose from the dead, He did not reveal Himself to everyone in an “all of a sudden” fashion – He did it gradually to those who loved Him – like a flower opening up its glory to those who were watching.
The Lord is risen, He is alive and like on those first hours of Easter morning, the Lord desires to reveal Himself to us, if we look for Him with the eyes of faith. Even now, with so much going on, He is still here, and if we look with eyes of faith we will see Him – alive and all powerful. This is both the challenge and comfort of this Easter in a time of pandemic. The challenge is to look at the shadows and clouds and the disruption to life and to view them through the eyes of faith and ask ourselves what it is the Lord wants to show us, what it is that He wants us to do, who it is that He wants us to become through this – this is the challenge. The comfort is to know that He is indeed Risen and He is alive and He is here – speaking to us as He did St. Mary Magdalene, walking with us as He did with the disciples on the way to Emmaus, coming to us behind the locked doors as He did with His Apostles. He is here, He has conquered the grave, everything obeys His command and we will see Him if we look with the eyes of faith and a prayerful and pure heart – this is the comfort.
We may feel this Easter, with our inability to come to Mass, as if we are standing and looking in an empty tomb – but the tomb is empty, not because He has disappeared, but because He is alive. If we look for Him and open our hearts to Him, He will reveal Himself to us. This is my own prayer for this Easter, for all of us, that just as Lent brought many hardships, that through them we have grown in our faith and for as long as they last we will continue to do so, so that when the proper moment comes, like He did with St. Mary Magdalene, with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, like the Apostles in the Upper Room, we who have endured these things in faith will come to see the Risen Lord - who has been present with us all this time – in His radiant glory.
A blessed Easter to all of you! The Lord is Risen, He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!