It used to puzzle me that Jesus only appeared to a select few people after the resurrection. I mean, wouldn’t it have been much more effective if Jesus showed up in the clouds as big as life for all to see and then wouldn’t everyone have believed?
Perhaps that would have merely been a cheap substitute for what scripture tells us. These select few needed an experience, an intimate experience with Jesus and in that experience they too are transformed. This is more than a magic trick or even a miracle. This is transformation. We are changed when we meet the risen Lord and He has changed us because God could not bear to be apart from us and even though we sin, the power of God’s love always conquers death and division.
How will we experience Jesus now after our 40 days in the desert and three days in the smelly tomb? Do we go running to see where Jesus is even when it appears that all is lost?
Most of us don’t. Most of us are willing to let Jesus find His way to us. And eventually Jesus does find us–just as he found those disciples, just as He found Mary Magdalene who mistakes Jesus for the gardener. Jesus finds us all sometimes in places where we least expect Him and certainly in times when we’re not even looking for Him.
I remember in my college days that I was in the school cafeteria and my Resident Director came up to me and said “Hey you should go on this!” I looked at the sign he was pointing to and it said “Fordham Peer Retreat.” I said to him, “No way. That is my birthday weekend. I’m going out to party!”
His response: “You can go out anytime. Why not come on this and ask yourself what the next 20 years are going to be like?”
And so I did. And that one moment changed me and changed my life. I’m in campus ministry today because of that one moment. I’ve lead over 50 retreats in 9 years because of that one moment. I was transformed by that one moment in which the invitation to come and meet Jesus more intimately was made and I was somehow able to say “Yes.” That “yes” allowed me to see that others struggled with the pains that life gave them. One young woman talked about the death of her mother and how she struggled to deal with that. Another was in recovery for drugs and alcohol. Another very simply had trouble in transitioning from high school to college. Lastly, that same resident director was brave enough to talk about his own broken relationship. All met Jesus in their experience and in that experience they were healed and transformed into something better, something stronger, something that doesn’t deny the pain they felt, and yet still doesn’t let that pain defeat them.
That’s resurrection folks. That’s all it is. God does not allow us to be defeated by death and destruction and hatred. God redeems all that we suffer through the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Alleluia! He is risen.
Will we be able to say yes when he asks to meet us and to share our cross with the one who has risen?
When that invitation comes to you, will you be brave enough to believe that Jesus can transform you? Will you be brave enough to throw away what is comfortable to do something that is unknown? Will you be able to say “Yes” not in a silly or superficial way, but in a way that asks yourself to look more deeply at your relationship with God and others and asks yourself what is it that God is calling you to become? What is God asking you to transform in your life?