April 4, 2021
Some researchers, who supposedly have expertise in the area, claim that the human brain is wired to “hang on” to negative experiences for a much longer period of time than the positive events we enjoy in life. In other words, when something bad happens to us, it impacts our mood, behavior, security, and overall sense of well-being much more forcefully than the good things. Carrying this over into our relationships with other people, it has been suggested that when we have a “bad exchange” with another person, it takes at least five subsequent “good encounters” to get back on track (normal/loving terms) with the party with whom we had a falling out.
Now, think for a minute about how Jesus’s Passion and death affected those closest to Him. How could the Blessed Mother, the Apostles, and disciples…all who followed Him and knew and loved Him best…ever let go of the horror of Good Friday? If it is true that we are wired to hang onto the negative experiences we encounter in life, how was it possible for them to get past the extreme trauma of witnessing The Crucifixion?
Well, starting with Easter morning, we know of five glorious experiences that enabled Jesus’s loved ones to not only move beyond the horrific brutality they witnessed, but to literally rejoice in the knowledge that Good Friday made Easter Sunday a reality.
Mary Magdalene, in the throes of grief, went to The Tomb to care for the lifeless Body of Jesus of Nazareth. There, in the garden where His lifeless earthly Body had been entombed just over a day before, this grieving woman encountered The Risen Christ.
Devastated by the events of Good Friday, a totally despondent couple made their way back to their home in the little village of Emmaus. Along the way, they encountered a stranger Who pierced through their shock and grief by citing the Old Testament passages that explained the unthinkable. Then, in their own home, at their humble table, as He broke bread with them, they recognized The Resurrected One.
On Easter night, and again a week later, in spite of the security measures they had taken to protect themselves; The Lord simply appeared in the Upper Room and gifted them with His Peace!
Finally, as He promised, He met them in Galilee. Sitting on the shore, while they fished, Christ prepared breakfast. He fed their bodies, and in so doing, He nourished their spirits.
There were other encounters with Jesus Christ after He was resurrected…but these five were reported. And these five experiences of Jesus’s glorified Self totally changed the mood of His followers…from shock, grief, and fear…to perfect joy.
The behavior of the Apostles and disciples totally changed after encountering The Risen One, as is reported first in the Acts of the Apostles. Their sense of security and well-being not only returned, but these encounters with Christ fortified them to the point that they traveled throughout the ancient world giving convincing witness to Jesus’s final victory over death.
Possibly the most convincing witness to the authenticity of these post-Resurrection encounters is that many of those who watched The Lord brutalized accepted their own martyrdom without flinching.
This Easter morning, we all would do well to open ourselves up to our own personal experience of the Risen Christ Jesus. We might not recognize Him at first. He could very well come at an unexpected time. We very well may encounter The Glorified Jesus in a most unusual place, or under the most ordinary circumstances. The only thing that is absolutely certain is that we will be changed by the meeting. We will be filled with Peace!