So Where Do We Go From here?
- Wednesday, April 26, 2017
- By Father Robin Ruder-Celiz
Things are always different aren’t they when someone we love dies. Things are different, and yet there is also a strange familiarity as well.
People, our neighbourhood and world is the same and familiar. Even our daily routines, while slow to re-engage do come back and become familiar and regular again. Yet, despite this, there is something different and irreplaceable that makes all of our daily life and routine different, the one we grieve for is no longer with us in our world in the same way.
So what do we do? How do we manage our grief and work through the feelings and emotions that we experience? Inevitably we find support with friends and family, we gather as a community to give thanks for the life of the person who has died. We tell stories and hold onto the values that were important to them. Every time we hear their favorite song or remember a distinctive phrase that they used to say we remember them and they become alive in our hearts and minds once more. They are not here with us physically in our world, but they are still very much alive in our lives in a new way.
The same is for the disciples. In the days that follow the death of Jesus they are left trying to make sense of everything that has just happened. Their friend, teacher and Rabbi who has influenced their lives greatly has now died. The world around them looks familiar, yet their lives are forever changed. Things can’t just carry on in the same way anymore. Something is different, Jesus is gone and now they have to pick up the pieces and carry on someway, somehow.
So what do they do? They do what many of us do when we experience a great loss in our lives. They tell stories, “Remember when Jesus did . . . .” They try and make sense and understand what he meant to them. “What did he mean when he said . . .” They carry on down the road sharing their stories and reminding each other of the good times and the bad. Scripture tells us that in their retelling of story their hearts are warmed. They arrive at their destination and invite the stranger in for dinner; just like they used to do. This seems so natural and good. It is what Jesus would want them to do; he did it all the time, eating and socializing with anyone including people who society did not want to associate with in any way; the unclean, the government and their aids. It is at this point while having dinner and carrying on with how they have been taught to live and work in the world that they realize that Jesus has been with them all along.
They realize that the Jesus that they knew is alive, only in a new way. They have entered into a new relationship, a new chapter with him. Life is different, and there is no going back. Yet there is a familiarity as well. The teachings and way of life that Jesus brought them continues, only he is not with them. They have to continue the story themselves to new people in different places.
As we continue with our lives, as we continue to tell the story of Jesus and how he continues to change lives down through the ages in new places and old. As we continue to invite the stranger, extend hospitality, break bread and pour wine; Jesus is with us every step of the way, even when, and especially when he seems to be far from us. It is in those moments, the morning after when everything has fallen apart and we are left to pick up the pieces, wondering what to do next; it is there where we find God with us as we continue the story of how Jesus came into the world for you and me.