It’s that time of year again in the seminary, this First Week of Easter, a time in which we can relate to the disciples in the upper room, on the Road to Emmaus, and by the Sea of Galilee. Indeed, we are often just like them...
We fear. As we prepare for a new summer assignment, we’re afraid what the pastor will be like or whether we’ll be up to the task. As we prepare for finals, we’re afraid we really don’t understand Heideggerian metaphysicas, the doctrine of concommitance, the perfect peraphrastic. Will I be alone in front of that piece of paper, or will Jesus be there?
We fear. As we prepare for a pastoral year, we wonder whether being away from these halls will strngthen or weaken the sense that God is calling me to be a Priest. Can I really do it? Will it turn out all right? Will I be alone in that parish, or will Jesus be there?
We fear. Just a few weeks from Ordination, as it finally seems, maybe for the first time, all too real. People will be confessing their sins to me! Christ will be speaking to them through my lips and transforming bread and wine into his Body and Blood through my hands. Will I be up to it? Will I know what to do? Will I be a good Priest? Will I be alone at that altar, or will Jesus be there?
We fear. In just eleven weeks I will become Rector. Will I be a good father to you, my brothers and sons? Will I be anywhere near as wise as my predecessor and friend? Will I be patient and quiet when I should listen? Will I be fair and just? Will I speak the hard truth, with kindness and conviction. Will I be alone in this place, or will Jesus be here?
We’re so often like the disciples, locked behind the doors of our fears, hoping that he’s risen for us love, but more often trembling at the fantasms of imaginary ghosts.
And then, suddenly, it’s Easter. And he’s standing in our midst and he’s whispering into our hearts: “Peace be with you. "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” Come, and recognize me in the breaking of the bread. Eat my Body and Drink my Blood. And I will to live in you and you in me. And I shall be with you always, until the end of time.