Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
If Easter is about anything at all, it is about God's radical desire to be intimate with each of us.
To take on mankind's sinful nature and then to suffer crucifixion at the hands of His creatures is indeed a mind-boggling demonstration of God's desire to remove sin as the barrier to the intimacy He longs to share with us.
As exciting as Christ's resurrection was to the apostles on Easter Sunday morning, what happens on Easter Sunday evening is even more exciting.
On Easter Sunday morning, the apostles were very excited that Jesus rose from the dead. This knowledge brought joy to their hearts, because they were looking forward to reconnecting with Him.
However, Jesus realized on Easter Sunday morning His work was not completed, so He revisited them in the evening when the doors were locked. What they experienced that night they couldn't fully appreciate until the Feast of Pentecost.
Easter Sunday celebrates the greatest feast of the entire year, Christ's resurrection from the dead. But we need to ask ourselves: "Is my experience of Christ's resurrection primarily head knowledge, or is my experience both head and heart knowledge?"
Exploring the readings, beginning with the Gospel, helps us answer the question. In the Gospel of John, Mary of Magdala "came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb."
In the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, God's Word pierces mankind's darkness and reveals a light that will always shine for those who walk in it.
In the first reading, God chooses one of Jesse's sons to be king. While Jesse presents seven sons, God doesn't choose any of them. God tells Samuel, "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."
The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent are simultaneously simple and overwhelmingly profound. Our eyes see and our hearts hear of physical water, but our spirits hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit.
On the second Sunday of Lent, the Church gives us the scene of Jesus, up on the mountain, being transfigured before Peter, James and John. The Church wants to lift our eyes to the beauty of our calling in Christ. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus' Transfiguration lifts our eyes above our present period of purification to allow Jesus to have a new freedom in our hearts. This prepares us for the glory as pre-figured in the Transfiguration.