God never overpowers, never twists arms, and never pushes your face into something so as to take away your freedom. And nowhere is this more true than in what is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus. The Gospels assure us that the resurrection was physical, real, not just some alteration inside the consciousness of believers. After the resurrection, Jesus’ tomb was empty, people could touch him, he ate food with them, and he was not a ghost.
The resurrection did not make breaking news on CNN. After he rose from the dead, Jesus was seen by some, but not by others; understood by some, but not by others. Some got his meaning and it changed their lives, others were indifferent to him, and still others understood what had happened, hardened their hearts against it, and tried to destroy its truth.
Why this difference? What makes some people see the resurrection while others do not? What lets some understand the mystery and embrace it, while others are left in indifference or hatred?
Hugo of St. Victor used to say: Love is the eye! When we look at anything through the eyes of love, we see correctly, understand, and properly appreciate its mystery. The reverse is also true. When we look at anything through eyes that are jaded, cynical, jealous, or bitter, we will not see correctly, will not understand, and will not properly appreciate its mystery.
Two weeks ago, volunteers from our parish cooked a homemade pork and mashed potato meal for the “gentlemen,” the inmates from Attica. They have worked hard for seven months to remodel and restore the rectory, stain glass windows of the church and the parish school.
There darkness was the consequences of their drug addiction, losing their freedom, not being with their loved ones. However, on this special morning, the ladies of our parish gave these men back their dignity and offered them the love of this community. You should have seen the surprise on their faces as the homemade food was being passed around the tables. A lightness came across their faces as they were being fed real food from the hands of real people who offered it with the eye of love. As one inmate remarked: “homemade beats prison food anytime.”
What characterizes Holy Family Catholic Community is it oddness. Holy Family is home for people who are out of step, unfashionable, and unconventional. Hanging in the air throughout this catholic church is the heavenly smell of incense mingled with the piggy fragrance of sweaty hardworking farmers and a messy shepherd who gets stuck in manure.
Christ is risen, though we might not see him. The miraculous doesn’t force itself on us. It’s there, there to be seen, but whether we see or not, and what precisely we do see, depends mainly upon what’s going on inside our own hearts.
Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends that they have the eye of love and believe that He has risen. Blessed Easter to each of you and all the members of your family.