11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus can come to us in the most unexpected ways, and unexpected times…
Mary did not expect to see Jesus when she went to the tomb, and did not even recognize him when she did see him…
The disciples were hiding behind closed doors, possibly even discussing how they were to slip out of the city, to avoid being arrested themselves…then Jesus appeared among them…in the gloom of the closed room, in the midst of their sorrow and fear…and he brought they hope, and joy…where only moments before there had only been despair.
Like Mary and the disciples we too can encounter Jesus when and where we least expect him…often when we are not even thinking of our faith, but caught up in the day to day dealing with issues of work, our kids’ schooling, household chores, sports, chauffer duty, or teen-aged drama.
One busy morning many years ago, when my daughter was still very young (she was still using a car-seat), I was rushing to drop her off at daycare before heading into work. My mind was already on my job, the meetings I had to attend and the tasks that I needed to complete that day…and I was also wondering about whether or not I needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home, and when I might find time to clean the apartment and head to the Laundromat and…etc…when suddenly my daughter spoke up from the backseat: “Daddy look…look at the heart, that’s a sign that God loves us!”
I had been deep in thought but her words pulled me out of my revelry, and I asked her what she was talking about, and she again told me to “look” and she pointed to the windshield: there on the passenger’s side was the shape of a heart that had formed in the evaporating dew on the glass! Seeing the heart made me smile, and for a moment at least…forget about my worries for the coming day; the heart reminded me of Christ’s constant presence in our lives and our world…even when we least expect to find him…or rather when we least expect him to find us!
Christ comes to us in many ways: through nature, the scriptures, preaching and teaching, in music, and through the faith and fellowship of others…friends and family, our children, professionals and even through strangers. Sometimes Christ speaks to us through the person we least expect…like the homeless our Catechism class helped to feed at a local shelter, who reached out to us with thanks, but also with friendship, and the wisdom that can only come from facing life on the streets, and struggles with poverty, addiction and mental health issues. The voice of Christ can come from a stranger on the subway or bus who offers you a smile, or someone who strikes up a conversation while waiting out a long line. The voice of Christ can come to us through a teacher who offers some good advice or a word of encouragement to our children. The voice of Christ can come through friends, who can offer us support during a tough time, a posting on Facebook, or even through the right song coming on the radio at just the right time!
And the voice of Christ can come from our children…whether it is by pointing out a heart forming on a windshield, marveling over a flock of birds flying over the neighborhood, calling me out of my stress and worry to play outside on a beautiful day, or sitting down to talk over the challenges of life faced as they grow into young adulthood.
All we need to do to see that Christ in alive and active in our world is to look around us…especially at our children who are the gift of new life personified, and who will often speak the unvarnished truth to us without realizing it or meaning too. As single parents, we are in a unique position to hear the voice of Christ through our children…and through the gift of raising our children, as we learn as much from them as they do from us.
As Christians we live every day of our lives in the light of the Risen Christ, and living in this light Christ comes to us in another unexpected way: through us, as we live our faith out-loud in all that we do, from our work, to how we treat others while driving and going about our daily lives…to raising our children with love, care, and through teaching them how to live their faith as well!
Christ comes to us…often in unexpected ways, and in unexpected times…because through Christ God’s love and grace is shown to us all…we just need to keep open-minded, and be able to stop, look and listen for the voice of Christ in our lives, no matter where or when it finds us!!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for coming to us right where we are: in the midst of our lives, and often in unexpected ways and times. Help us to be aware of the many ways you come to us, through the scriptures, in nature, in our family, our friends and through strangers. Let us share the love of God with each other, making the Risen Christ known in our world, and in the lives of others…especially in the lives of our children. Thank you for always being with us, and giving us the faith to make our way through our journey of being single parents in our challenging world.