Glimpse of God for the week of April 11, 2021
What did Mary Magdalene, The Apostles, Thomas, and The Disciples on the road to Emmaus, have in common after Jesus rose from the dead? What they had in common was that they were prevented from recognizing Jesus after He rose from the dead. They thought that He was the gardener, a stranger in town, or just another man. What was preventing them? What did Jesus know about each of their hearts that needed to be healed by His presence after He died on the cross and they felt abandoned, left alone to figure out things, led to a darkness that they never felt or expected?
All were prevented, unable to see or recognize the risen Christ. The very Jesus that they broke bread with, ministered together with, experienced His miracles, shared their stories about their brokenness, their joys, their hopes, their sorrows, and their hopes about the Messiah and how He would change things for the better. Christ raised people from the dead, healed the blind, the deaf, the crippled, he ate with sinners and ministered to the outcasts, and these very apostles, disciples, and women followers were with Him to see it firsthand. They had come to know Jesus and the kind of person He was. They learned of the kind of person that they would need to become if they were going to be His followers, and follow His example from His life to and through His death and to His resurrection.
Yet they were unable to recognize Him after He rose from the dead, Why? Seeing Him after He rose from the dead, frightened them instead of being jubilant and happy to see Him, they were unable to recognize Him for who He was, and they stood in disbelief. What was preventing them from seeing Him as Jesus and not the gardener or a stranger? Was it their grief at His horrible death, was it their anger at how they followed and believed in Him, and now they had no one to follow and they felt abandoned and left on their own? Was it fear? Was it overwhelming disbelief at all that happened, and they still could not make any sense of it all?
What causes us to not see the resurrected Jesus in our life and in the face and life of others especially during this last year of the pandemic? How have we been preventing from seeing Jesus during the isolation, frustration, anxiety, and uncertainty that the pandemic has caused within us? As we have walked, tried to run, crawled, and stumbled through these last 13 months, are we able to recognize where Jesus was and is, and how we are blessed by His presence in the unique and new ways that He has revealed Himself? The disciples were prevented from recognizing Jesus for various reasons. We are prevented from recognizing Jesus for many reasons as well. Sometimes when we are afraid, caught off guard, surprised in a painful way, we are not able to open the eyes of our heart and mind to seeing Christ as He is in these moments. What else prevents us from recognizing Jesus? it the pain or separation that comes from the physical death of a loved one? is it our woundedness where we need to be healed, and made whole? is it the death of a relationship through separation, divorce, disagreement? is it the death of an ideal? of a dream? is it anger, loneliness, or fear? We are prevented from seeing the risen Jesus in the faces and lives of others when we cannot see past the pain of our cross, our own personal suffering, whether it is spiritual, emotiona,l or physical.
Mary, Thomas, and the Apostles were in the very presence of Jesus and witnessed to his many miracles but lost clarity of His presence because fear got in the way. We like them, have the very real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist when we become afraid and need to feel His calm and warmth, reassurance, and peace. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, it is then that the eyes of our heart and mind are opened and we recognize Him as He is, our Savior and Redeemer. We then are invited to see our self as He sees us; His beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation.
I believe that our anger, our sorrow, our weariness at what we are coping with can prevent us from seeing the Risen Christ and experiencing the resurrections in our life that Jesus has in store. You cannot have a Good Friday without a Resurrection Sunday. They go together. Jesus' first words to His followers who stood in disbelief were "Peace be with you!" He didn't reprimand them for not recognizing Him because he knew their hearts and how much they loved Him, but yet how they were filled with so many other emotions. The resurrection experiences in our life come in the forms of peace, joy, happiness, reconciliation, healing, compassion, mercy, understanding and a renewed desire to be the best person that God created us to be despite our crosses and the challenges that they bring.
It is difficult to experience resurrection if we cannot let go and let God bring us these gifts because of our disbelief that He wants to give them to us and our fears that we will be called to change and be transformed forever.
When Jesus saw Mary Magdalene, she at first was unable to recognize Him as Her Lord and Teacher. He saw through her fear and instead of causing more pain for her, He touched her heart because He knew the depth of her love for Him. He brought that forward, past her fear, her pain, her deep sense of loss and much confusion, and it was then that she recognized Him. He offered her Peace. That is what He offers all of His children. He knows that depth of our love for Him even in the midst and the weight of our crosses. When we say Yes to His will, and desire to do and be the very best we can and surrender our will to Him each day, then we are experiencing a resurrection.
So this week, let us take time to see the resurrected Jesus in our lives and in the faces and lives of others. "Rabboni" which means teacher. Your prayer for the week can be: Teach me your ways O Lord and make known to me the path that I must travel to walk closer to you.
SUNDAY - "T" – Thanksgiving
Are you thankful for the gift of Jesus' passion, death and resurrection that gives you your personal resurrections? Through Jesus' passion, death and resurrection you have someone that knows your pain, your suffering and your confusion and can help you as you carry your cross. He blesses you with His peace, joy, and happiness here on earth, so that you can move forward and recognize your resurrections and rejoice in them.
MONDAY - "E" – Empathy
Are you empathetic, understanding, compassionate towards others who fail to recognize the risen Jesus in their life because of the weight of their crosses and the pain that they are feeling? or do you put them down, judge them, lose patience with them, see yourself as better than them? Empathy requires an open heart, one that is in relationship with God and wants to share His good news of mercy, healing, peace, love with others, and how they are His beloved children, loved unconditionally, and His greatest creation. You cannot be empathetic if you want to hold others back and think yourself as better than them. Recognizing the risen Christ and the resurrection experiences in your life means that you have the heart of Christ and the desire to expand it so that Jesus can fill it with His presence in the way that He chooses to reveal it.
TUESDAY - "A" - Amazement
Are you, can you allow our self to be amazed? Can you see, do you see the many signs of resurrection in your life? Do you recognize your resurrections, the place where you experience the Risen Christ in your life? Do you see them in and through the healing that has taken place through reconciliations? Can you recognize the Risen Christ, your resurrections in your joys, your family, your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your church, and your place of employment? All of these can provide signs of resurrection and the peace that Jesus wants for you. Can you see them? Ask for the ability to recognize the Risen Jesus as you encounter others, see circumstances differently, recognize that personal grudges as an unnecessary weight that is holding you back from peace and seek the grace to let go.
WEDNESDAY - "C" - Charity
Are you charitable in your words, deeds, actions, and attitudes? Do you offer peace, reconciliation, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to others, especially those who have caused you pain and have made your cross heavy? Jesus offered peace to His disciples even after they denied Him, abandoned Him, and hid in fear. He forgave them because He knew their hearts. He knows your heart and how it wants to be the best in love. He offers you His mercy and peace so that you can be more charitable. He does not want you to hold onto grudges because it is then that you miss out on the hope of reconciliation, renewal, and reconnection.
THURSDAY - "H" - Honor
Do you honor yourself, others and God by how you treat yourself, others and in your relationship with God? Can you honor others, who are also God's beloved children, who have offended you in some way? Do you recognize that God honors you? Or are you your greatest offender? Do you want to ask God for His grace and love to penetrate your brokenness so that you can recognize not only how He honors you, but loves you beyond any sin or weakness that you have committed? God's love is greater than any sin that you can commit, and He wants that to be your resurrection. He wants you to embrace your new life with Him as risen.
FRIDAY - "E" - Embrace
Do you go towards Jesus as He holds out His arms to embrace you or do you run from His embrace? What brings you towards Christ so that you can be embraced by Him? Is it your desire to say thank you and talk to Him about what you are experiencing in your life? Is it because you want to be healed and you realize that only he can heal your woundedness in whatever form it is taking? You can't fix what is broken or shattered, only Jesus can. You can become the wounded healer though and that is a great gift, a big resurrection, the recognition of the risen Christ in your life.
SATURDAY - "R" - Revelation
What or how has God revealed Himself to you this week that has made you respond with joy and happiness, that brought you a deep sense of peace and gratitude, thanksgiving, and serenity? Was it a reconciliation of a relationship? forgiveness of self for something that you have held on to but now are able to let go of and forgive yourself for? Was it a blessing that you have been praying for and have received and found it to be better than you could have imagined? What resurrections have you experienced this week? Do you see the Risen Christ because of your resurrections more readily in those around you? How has He revealed Himself to you? How have you revealed Him to others this week? How do you want to reveal Him to others?
The weekly Glimpses of God are opportunities to recognize, with greater clarity,the presence of God in the various places, people, events, situations and circumstances of your daily life. I offer them to you as an opportunity to reflect on howmuch God, as you understand Him, is a part of your life,how He chooses to use you and how you have chosen Him.They are glimpses because we can miss them if we are not paying attention. But if we open our heart to His love, if we open our ears to hear His gentle voice, if we open our eyes to see His light, if we open our hands to feel His hand in ours, and if we are open to share these gifts with others,
then we too are being a Glimpse of God to those
in our family, church, community,neighborhood, society and world.