Back in the Jesuit novitiate we were sent to various apostolates
to be of service but also to learn what the life of a Jesuit would be.
One place we were all sent was Calvary Hospital, a care facility for terminally
ill patients in New York City. When there, we had to be on duty on
the floor every morning at 5:00 to serve as orderlies. In the evening
we would visit patients on floors other than the ones we worked on.
In those days of youthful energy I actually managed to do both without collapsing!
One evening I met a very nice elderly lady who explained to me that she
was going home the next day. Being the pious novice I launched into
how heaven is our home but we could never know for sure when we would be called
home. This lady gave me a funny look and said, "No brother, I mean
I'm going home tomorrow. I'm leaving here and going back to my family."
Well, one of the requirements for this hospital is that the patient be terminal
so I really felt bad for her since she obviously was "in denial" (a very
popular term and accusation in the 70's).
The next evening I went to see that same lady and there was her bed, empty.
A nurse came in and I told her I was so sorry that this lady had died.
She looked at me funny and said, "She did not die, she went home to her
Easter teaches us to change our expectations, to broaden our hopes and
to return home transformed. The first reading reminds us that "the
elect" are in fact everyone. We expect the elect to be the best looking
or the smartest or the strongest. Nope, it's just US. All of
us. The second reading shows how Mary expected that Jesus would NOT
be raised from the dead-she just wanted to visit the body.
Just as my assumptions prevented me from believing the wonderful truth
that lady told me, that she would return to her family, Mary's expectations
prevented her from recognizing the Risen Lord.
But then the empty tomb (for me, the empty bed). Then the message
of confirmation (for me the nurse).
I was so happy that I was wrong about that lady in the hospital.
When I went home that night I told everyone about it, I even called my parents
since it was such a great story.
So too does Mary run to tell the story.... so that the apostles might
see with new eyes and also recognize the Risen Lord.
When our expectations are changed, when we see with new eyes, it's natural
for us to proclaim. This is the season of new expectations. This is
the season of transformations.
Let us be willing to share our new visions!