In May, we are in Eastertide – the fifty days between Easter Sunday, when we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection, and Pentecost, when we remember how the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit. In this meditation, Parish Associate Fred Wise considers the meaning of this time.
After Easter, when Jesus’ earthly ministry ends, we don’t see His private life. After the rolling away of the stone from the tomb and a brief conversation with Mary Magdalene, the narrative focus of the Gospels doesn’t record His goings and comings, His praying, His conversations, or His actions. We have only the daily life of the disciples, their journeys, their fishing. But in the course of that daily life, after they believe He has gone, they encounter Jesus. He is unexpected. He comes without demand or agenda. When He comes He engages the disciples as they go about their activity. Are they sad? Are they anxious? Have they given up on the apocalyptic hope of faith, seeking the solace of occupations – forgetting their troubles in the demands of fishing?
The writer of Hebrews says we may entertain angels when we reach out to strangers—and we may yet meet Him, perhaps especially on those days when our spirits flag and work deadens the wounds of grief. He has passed through the death that threatens us—the death in life that is more foreboding than the cellular annihilation of our embodied consciousness. He is not afraid to show us His wounds, that we may take heart that our own persistent wounds might heal.