Awake, O sleeper
and rise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.
~ Ephesians 5:14
We hear in the Gospels that the disciples of Christ find a new world waiting for them when they meet the glorified and resurrected Jesus. We can probably relate to this kind of radical change, how one moment can change the way you view yourself and your place in the world. We sometimes have this experience in times of great sadness.
But sometimes, this change mysteriously occurs in the face of great joy. On hearing the news that you have gotten a new job. At the birth of a child. For me, a moment that stands out in my memory is the night I got engaged — lying awake in my bed, feeling the contours of this new ring, and pondering the many ways in which my life had suddenly changed for good. I felt a bit like a stranger to myself, like a different person altogether. I was transformed by new hopes for the future — and it was joyous and solemn, wonderful and strange.
The disciples were transformed
These disciples of Jesus were changed by joy on that first Easter. The plan they had prior to his crucifixion — a political revolution, a life spent following this wise teacher — were completely turned around, as they realized they had been surprised by something far more solemn and far more joyous than they could ever have imagined. Thomas, the doubter, when he finally encountered the Risen Christ, expressed this change most simply and most movingly, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28). Beyond all doubt, they now knew that this was the living God, there in their midst, and that knowledge drastically altered any view of self, the world or future plans. The sleepers awoke to a new world, and a new hope for the future.
We have been changed
We have encountered Christ intimately, just as the disciples did in that Upper Room. Though we have not put our own hands in the holes in his hands and side, we have shared in the meal which is truly his body and blood at Mass. We have become part of his body in this meal. Changed by this encounter, now what we look for is nothing less than the Light of the World, which dispels all darkness. What we wait for is nothing less than our own life, hidden with Christ in God. What we hope for is nothing less than the love of God, poured out abundantly for each of us. Let us look, wait, and hope well in this very holy season.