Christ is Risen. Truly he is Risen. We all have days when everything we do turns to ash. The morning starts late and we struggle to catch up, the afternoon brings fresh frustration and aggravation; by the end of the day, we feel that tomorrow cannot come soon enough. The stormcloud over our heads has blotted out the daylight. Recently, I was in the midst of such a dark day, when I took momentary refuge in spiritual reading. As I began to read, a particular passage leapt off the page, “Something wonderful is about to happen.” It stunned me. It was as if God himself grasped my shoulders, gave them a shake and said: “Wake up! Let go of the darkness, open your eyes and ears because something wonderful is about to happen. Don’t miss it.”
Something wonderful is about to happen. This is the message of Easter. Jesus’ Resurrection reminds us that something wonderful has already happened. Death no longer has the final word; the grave is not our ultimate destiny. Love is stronger than death, and we are called to live in the hope of God’s blessings. Whatever struggle and challenge we face in our daily living, we can be confident that Jesus is eager to break through our darkness just as He emerged from the lifeless tomb. Christ’s Resurrection is not simply the historical belief that Christ rose from the dead, but that we, too, will share in the life he now has. Easter proclaims that we have a future, and this proclamation is the source of our hope.
But we can miss it. Something wonderful can happen and we can be indifferent or oblivious to it. In his first appearances after His Resurrection, it is remarkable that no one initially recognizes Jesus. Mary Magdalene assumes that he’s the gardener; the disciples on the Emmaus road suppose he is a clueless, if intriguing, stranger; Peter and the other disciples think he is a savvy fisherman who helps them haul an amazing catch from the Galilee shore. In the wake of Jesus’ passion and death, they are so blinded by their darkness they cannot recognize that something wonderful has happened.
So it is for us. When our life is dominated by our fears and failures, we lose focus on the one who is eager to enliven our lives with his presence. One of the most important spiritual abilities is availability. It is only when we are available and alert to the reality that Christ is alive in our days that we are able to recognize His blessings. Consider how the disciples come to recognize the Risen Lord. Though Mary Magdalene is initially mistaken about who Jesus is, still she is searching for Him and, when He speaks her name, she recognizes Him. The disciples on the road to Emmaus are clueless that they’ve been journeying with Jesus, and yet, they invite Him to dine with them, “Stay with us, Lord.” They were available, open, and thus, came to know Christ in the breaking of the bread. Peter and the other disciples don’t realize that the man standing on the seashore is more than merely a sage, but they listen to the advice given, and suddenly it becomes clear that it is Jesus who is calling to them. For those who are available to encounter Christ, something wonderful is about to happen.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” I invite you this Easter season to open the door of your life to Christ. Be available and ready to experience the wonder of the Risen Lord. Be mindful of his presence, alert to his inspiration, and share the hope of his blessings with others. Come and join us during these Sundays of Easter and Pentecost as we relive the most precious and powerful moments of our faith and discover that something wonderful will indeed happen.
~ Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.
Thank you Fr. Michael for your refection on being “Available”. May God bless you and your community this Easter Season.
“My past, O Lord, to your mercy; my present, to your love; my future, to your providence!”
St. Pio of Pietrelcina