By Doreen Salse
“Oops! Sorry, I guess I didn’t see you!. We probably have said this or a variation when we’ve looked up from the shopping cart at the grocery store or across the shelves at the library and saw someone insistently waving or smiling at us to get our attention.
The followers of Jesus seemed to be doing quite a bit of this during the Octave of Easter. These same people who had lived, eaten, traveled and prayed together with Christ didn’t recognize him until after He did something to get their attention. After all the years of listening to Him, the disciples still needed a sign. You might imagine them saying after He helped them pull in a net full of fish after a day of catching nothing and not knowing who He was until he invited them to breakfast -“Ah! Now recognize you”.
How different are we from the disciples? We have recently completed our Lenten journey, but where did that journey lead? Was it something to endure, a time to pack in a year’s worth of prayer, fasting and almsgiving? Did we cross off the days on a calendar thinking “only 20 days, 10 days, 5 days until Easter so that I can get back to enjoying the things I gave up?”
Perhaps after Easter we are a little like the travelers on the road to Emmaus. We’ve been through Holy Week hearing about the Passion of Christ. We may be contemplating what the empty tomb on Sunday morning really means, and wonder what changes it might bring for us.
Our focus should be on how the prayer, fasting, and almsgiving reshaped us during Lent. Were they instrumental in opening our eyes to see Christ among us in this Easter season and beyond? We had a forty-day opportunity to practice and improve our commitment to prayer and charity. Those forty days allowed us time to develop the desire to extend that commitment throughout our lives.
We have experienced the power of what we practiced during Lent. We have no excuse to say as we look around us and see Jesus in the form of people who need a word of comfort, prayers, money, or food and say, “Sorry. I didn’t see you standing there.”