"I Am With You Always..."
Happy Easter! We are celebrating the 50 Days of Easter: the 40 days Jesus appeared to his friends and then the days before the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them at Pentecost.
This is a fascinating and perhaps perplexing aspect of the person of Jesus. After all his years on earth and all he had suffered, it would seem that he would go straight from the tomb to the clouds, from the Resurrection to the Ascension… he’d be anxious to simply go Home.
And yet what does Jesus do? He stays here, on earth. He appears repeatedly to his loved ones. He spends time with his friends. He strengthens their faith. He allows them to touch him. He prepares breakfast for them. He forgives them. He teaches them. He reminds them of the Breaking of the Bread – the Eucharist. And he says goodbye and doesn’t simply disappear, but ascends into the heavens, to his Father.
The one human activity connected with saying good-bye that Jesus absolutely avoids is the “farewell lies.” These are those stories we tell each other and ourselves to ease the pain of leave-taking. We assure each other that we’ll be getting together or coming to visit soon or that we’ll make a point of visiting when we’re on vacation. We’ll talk on the phone or text or Skype or e-mail more faithfully. We’re already looking healthier and we’ll all be around for a long time to come…
Jesus says simply that he’s going to prepare a place for us….and that he’ll be with us always. Even as early as Easter evening, disciples are gathering and recognizing him in the Breaking of the Bread, the Eucharist. “Do this in remembrance of me” means making him present, but it also means remembering him and what he did and who he is.
Easter season is a wonderful opportunity to spend time at the tabernacle, the very Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Try spending at least a portion of that time remembering the people in your own life who are departed or far away. Sit with the Lord and replay the memories with smiles or tears, recalling, reliving.Take some time once or weekly during this Easter season to slip into church and be present before the Blessed Sacrament. When you’ve settled in and said “howdy” to the Lord, let him know that you’re there to sit with him and to remember the people you love.
Jesus loves it when we spend time with him sharing memories. After all, our memories are his, too….