Friday, April 13, 2012

A Presence already Present: Friday within the Octave of Easter

“Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way.” – Jn 21:1

One of my favorite TV shows was Joan of Arcadia. It is about a typical family whose teenage daughter encounters God through regular people, like a boy on the bus, a cafeteria worker, a school secretary, etc… In every episode Joan is given a challenging or surprising mission through which God teaches her life-giving lessons. In the pilot, the God-figure confounds her with: “Joan, I am not appearing to you. You are seeing me.” She begins to learn the difference between “appearing” and “revealing.” When appearing, a person enters a room he or she was absent before. When revealing, a person becomes unhidden, concealed, known. But he or she has always been present, albeit veiled.

John’s Gospel does not use the term “appear.” Instead, the verb the verb “reveal” is used deliberately to highlight a dimension of the Risen Christ: He is already here, hidden in every moment and circumstance, including ordinary ones. In today’s Gospel, the disciples go back to ordinary life as fishermen and catching little. Toward dawn, they discover him already present among them. Later, they realize he has been preparing a BBQ on the beach for them all along. Slowly, they recognize that the Risen Jesus has always been present, gifting them with his presence and feeding them.

It is a challenge in my busy life, especially in the fast-paced world of the West Coast, inundated by phone calls and texts, requests, FB messages, Tweets, to live in the moment. Especially when living the moment involves getting in touch with or accepting a difficult feeling, person, or circumstance. The Little Way of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux helps, “Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.” I don’t know about extraordinary love, but breathing in while praying the mantra “Jesus, flow into me” helps. It’s my little way to make space for the Risen One who is already “here” revealing himself and feeding me. The Easter Season is a time to live out our faith in the mystery of the Resurrection. To adapt a statement by Gerald May, we are called to trust that “grace is always present, always available, always good, always life-giving, always gratuitous.”

“Help me Lord, to live more fully each moment as a response to your love.”

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