Monday, April 17, 2017

Can You See Me Now?

It always amazes me that the disciples didn't recognize the risen Christ.

Mary thought he was the gardener. Thomas couldn't believe the other disciples really saw him alive. The guys walking on the road to Emmaus thought he was some stranger that joined them along the way.

How could they not know? How could they miss it?

And it sort of makes me wonder - How many times have I not recognized the presence of Christ in my world?

I was driving home from the downtown dentist when I saw her. The girl in the yellow shorts was sitting under the overpass, alongside shabby housing projects. She had her knees pulled up under her chin and was staring at the ground.  Something urged me to help her, but I didn't know what to do. Maybe I could have rolled my window down and offered an encouraging word, but when the light turned green, I drove away. I knew, even as I accelerated, that I'd made the wrong choice.

I'm here, Christ seemed to say. I'm in your world. Can you see me now?

Once, when I was at the hospital on a particularly scary and lonely day, I noticed a laundry worker in the hallway, pushing her cart. She paused to ask if I needed anything. Since the room was chilly, I asked for a blanket. As we spoke, I had the feeling that I’d known her all my life. Her presence was such a comfort. This stranger offered understanding and compassion just when I needed it most.

I'm here, Christ seemed to say. I'm in your world. Can you see me now?

During a difficult struggle in my life, I suddenly decided to hurry to a weekday Mass. It was like something was calling me to be there. During the consecration, even though I was alone in the pew, I felt a presence surrounding me. It was like somebody was standing with me.  It was undeniable. It was unmistakable. I left that Mass humming, feeling strengthened and peaceful.

I'm here, Christ seemed to say. I'm in your world. Can you see me now?

When Mary thought he was the gardener, and she asked where they put the Lord's body, Jesus calls her name. "Mary!" And with that, she recognizes him.

When Thomas tells the disciples that he needs to put his hands into Christ's wounds to believe it is him, Jesus appears at the next gathering and invites Thomas to 'see and believe.' 

The guys walking to Emmaus realized their 'hearts were burning' during their discussion with the stranger, and they recognized him at the end of the journey, in the breaking of the bread.

Like the disciples, whatever is happening in your life, you can believe Christ is there. In the depths of grief, in your everyday responsibilities, in the trials of life...he is there.

He's calling your name. He's inviting you to see and believe. He's speaking to you through his holy word.

I'm here, Christ says. I'm in your world. Can you see me now?

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