May 13, 2017

Fifth Week of Easter - Hide and Seek

Just when the disciple is so used to having Christ in close proximity, someone to run to, our counselor, our defender, our guide - now He tells them that He must vanish from their sight.  Are they ready for that? Do we think that we are too old and wise for a game of "Hide and Seek"?

Maybe its like the security we can feel when we are inside a church. We are comforted by so many assurances that God is here.  But what when we leave here and return to the the world outside these walls?

Sometimes we might feel the security of Christ's presence when we carry our rosary beads, wear a crucifix or medal, or surround ourselves with religious books and memorabilia, gravitating towards likeminded people who share our religious convictions.

But what about when we are engaging the world in the everyday tasks of life - at work, at school, in the market place, in the restaurant or with coworkers and the atmosphere is completely different - no sacred images on the wall, conversations far from sacred, when we find ourselves surrounded by the cosmetics of a secular world.

Christ tell us in today's Gospel, that it is best that He departs from our visible spectrum, so that through the Holy Spirit, we can find Him again. Of course, Our Lord, is substantially present to us through the Blessed Sacrament, radiating with heavenly intensity, the hidden attributes of His heart and soul that seeks communion us. But why does He seek us in such a hidden way? 

Holy Communion with Christ is not simply the invisible Christ entering into our immediate space. Remember, He was substantially present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the presence of pharisees, tax collectors, crowds and onlookers, and many were unmoved by His presence before them. 

Christ is never content "only" to be substantially present, to simply stand in our midst. Our Lord seeks so much more. He seeks to join His sacred heart to my heart, to influence my own hidden thoughts, my feelings and my attitudes with His own. If my own heart is hardened, if it has not been cleansed by His mercy, softened and moulded by His Spirit, I might as well be in Holy Communion with a statue, an image, a symbol or a holy book!  Remember, after His resurrection from the dead, when Christ literally walked alongside the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, what was the effect of His Real Presence before them - "Did not our hearts burn within us as He talked to us along the way?"

1.  We have before us Jesus hidden yet present in the Holy Eucharist. When we leave this building, know that you will also find Our Lord hidden yet present in the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are sick and suffering. 

2.  We will have before us at this altar and we will worship the resurrected Body of Christ -  
When we return to our neighborhoods and along the way, we will encounter the wounds of His Body in those we will see and meet along the way. 

3.  In this sacred building, we will adore Christ's Body which, although now Risen, still bears upon it the scars of the Cross. 
Where will we find Him when we return back into our secular world? He is present in the hidden wounds, suffering, pain and loneliness of our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors, the stranger and the passerby.

Our Blessed Mother who when she thought she lost Him for three days, found Him in the Temple. We do likewise. But Mary did not keep Him there or lock Him up in His room so as not to venture out from the house again. But when the time was right, without fear, she opened the doors and allowed Him to venture out into a dangerous world.  

May we too, like Our blessed mother Mary, continue to seek Him out again, but not always in the predictable places like the Temple where, of course, she knew He would often be preaching and teaching. 

Our Lady also had to seek Him out, as so must we, in the midst of a crowd of strangers, sometimes having to send word through others that we belong to His family and wish to see Him (Matthew 12:47).  

But ultimately, as Mother Mary did, and we too must follow - to seek and find her Son where no one else would dare to seek the face of God - on Calvary (John 19:26). 

This must be our greatest desire, like hers, to seek and find Him among the abandoned, the outcast and the suffering.  If we say we have devotion to the Virgin Mary, it must be to her Immaculate Heart, which is the heart of a mother whose heart is alway united with the Sacred Heart of her Son.   

Mary, gave God a face. May we always recognize that face. May Mother Mary also see the face of Christ her Son in you and me.   

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