In my semi-regular prayer meeting with people of the CHOICE weekend community, I heard the sharings of many Catholics about Easter: how they celebrate Easter and what it means to them. For the first time, I learnt about my fellow 'journey-ers' and the different 'moods' of faith they experience.
Tonight we meditated over today's Gospel, one of my favorite Post-Passion Gospel passages about the two disciples meeting Jesus on their way to Emmaus, as well as this coming Sunday's Gospel, about Jesus appearing to doubting Thomas in the upper room.
As much as the annual 40 days of Lent are supposed to prepare all the faithful, individually and communally, to die to our sins and rise anew in Christ, most of us are trapped our own 'cycles' of giddy joy and lowly blues in our relationship with God. And as such, some of us find that the Church's "peak" over Easter does not coincide with our own peaks.
I heard some sharing how touched they have been this Easter, how they reflected anew the meaning of resurrection in their own lives, and how some did not even attend Masses for any of the solemnities. It is with sadness that I heard how for some, Easter Sunday feels just like another mass, and with remembrance of how lukewarm I too had been in my celebration (or non-celebration) of Easter in the past.
As for 'sync-ing' my mood cycles with the solemn mood of the Church, I think right now it's a bit like the stock market graph—lots of daily & weekly fluctuations—but in general, thanks be to God, it's on the upward trend.
This Easter though, I felt something special; as if there's something joyful inside that's bursting out. A reader might give a wry comment that a Christian life should be lived with that kind of joy all the time ;) Honestly it has not been that way for me and I'm working on it!
Those who have read several of my posts in the last few months probably realized I'm in some kind of discernment period. This year's Lent was different precisely because I never had to, never felt the need to discern before, and this year I had to. I identified very much with the two disciples who met Jesus on the way to Emmaus, save for the bit where they saw the Lord breaking bread. They must have felt frustrated and desolate when Jesus died being crucified and then his body went missing by Sunday morning. I too felt frustrated in my discerning process because though I know and believe Jesus is the Messiah, my acknowledgement of this did not seem to set my life on the 'right track'.
Although my eyes of faith know that Jesus is with us always, there were times when, like the two disciples, my feeble senses could not quite believe or recognize Him in my daily situations. I remember reading reflections after reflections, writings of saints and bishops on Catholic websites, wanting so badly to perceive, to recognize, to feel, but could not, some kind of signs that would guide me to be immersed in God's presence, and ultimately, to know His will, and to will His will to be mine and to do it.
For many months I had struggled on my own strength, to discern and almost despaired in the hope of finding it. These last few weeks of Lent, I realized that one requires an attentive prayer life (that I do not yet have) to discern properly and lots of support from people I trust. My search for an answer had been reduced to something akin to finding Jesus' body: is it in the tomb, or is it somewhere outside? I missed the big picture: He is risen! My question now has become, what is God's will for me right here and now? Like the two disciples, I felt my heart burning when I recognized the desire to find the Truth; but as yet unable to make it out. Like the two disciples, I could only feel certainty when in the breaking of the bread, Jesus gave Himself for all of us, in communion, to eat.
This Easter, I resolve to say Yes to whatever He wills, although I don't know what it is as of now, trusting that in His time and His mercy, it will be done. Pray for me that I may gradually recognize God's promptings in every little situation and faithfully choose to carry them out.
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."