The small intimate band of Jesus’ followers certainly missed it in the immediate aftermath of the Resurrection. Earlier they asked Jesus “We have left everything to follow You. What then will there be for us?” (Matt 19;27) Now their world had crumbled before their eyes. The two on the road to Emmaus summed up the group’s despair with the devastating statement “We had hoped....”(Luke 24:13-35)
What they had mistakenly hoped for – some level of political power in a temporal Kingdom – never featured in Jesus’ plans. He made it abundantly clear from the start -“My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18: 36). They were never on His wavelength.
We can make the same mistake. To avoid that error, we could learn a lot from a very human incident earlier in Jesus’ life (John 4:5-26). Tired from walking the dusty roads He sat down at a well. When a local woman came to collect water, He amazed her by asking her for a drink. He further surprised her by offering her another type of water - LIVING WATER - that would take away her spiritual thirst - what natural water did for her physical thirst.
It took her a while to get onto His wavelength. He was gently telling her that the part He wished to play in her life would be on a much deeper, personal, spiritual level that any human relationship she had experienced to date. “If you only knew what God is offering”(v 10). The contrast Jesus draws between to TWO WATERS in her life is equally relevant in ours. He was leading her from the importance of NATURAL WATER in her life to the centrality of LIVING WATER in her friendship with God.
Our efforts to live decent Christian lives can be likened to NATURAL WATER. Our prayers, worship, devotions, rituals and religious practices of all sorts are as important in our spiritual lives as water is to our human lives. THE DANGER IS THAT WE CAN MAKE THEM AN END IN THEMSELVES. THEY and I can become the centre of my religion. I can LOVE my devotions above all things!
The LIVING WATER that Jesus is offering is a relationship with Him that flows to us through our devotions. For example, rather than saying “I LOVE the Rosary”, I should say “I love God THROUGHT the Rosary” or rather than “I LOVE the liturgy” – “I love God THROUGH the liturgy “. Devotions and liturgies are the SCAFFOLDING that leads to personal friendship with Jesus. The disaster is most of us cling to the SCAFFOLDING and seldom or never PERSONALLY MEET THE REAL PERSON, who is of course the reason and THE END of the project.
RESURRECTION at Easter makes that personal relationship with the Risen Lord possible. He is no longer confined by space or time. He is available to each of us as a real, live, fascinating person. St. Augustine said our hearts are made for Him and they will never rest until they rest in Him. Pope Francis in his letter THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL writes “the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who have MET Jesus…. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ…no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”
When we get to KNOW Jesus (rather than know ABOUT Him) then we will absorb His mind and His values and live by His standards. We will live by His LAW OF LOVE rather than be lessened by an over emphasis on LOVE OF THE LAW, which sadly we have often treated as an end it itself. The freedom to live and love as He did is what Easter and the Resurrection bring to our lives. Every time I succeed in overcoming some weakness is a mini resurrection because His Resurrection and Risen presence makes that success possible.
Easter and Resurrection is for every day. That is what is offered to us again this year and always.
“If you only knew what God is offering” (John 4:10)
It would be a shame to miss it again!