When I was young, I would imagine the Resurrection as one very dramatic event. It must have begun as a rumbling on the ground, that soon turned into an earthquake. Then there was a sound and an intense light coming from within the tomb where Jesus was buried, like an energy with a strong force. The energy was so strong that it rolled away the big stone guarding the entrance of the cave. Then, a strong delightful fragrance filled the air, as some angelic voices seemed to sing a triumphal hymn in the background. Then, Jesus emerged from the tomb alive and glorious in his victory over death, floating just a few inches above the ground.
But it seems it did not happen that way. First, there was no witness to the actual resurrection. All the women found was an empty tomb. Peter and John went to check and they saw the same thing – an empty tomb. The apostles, still in hiding and fearful for their lives, wondered who might have taken the body and where they might have placed it. After the empty tomb, the apostles and disciples experienced a series of apparitions. In the beginning, these apparitions were met with doubt and skepticism. Thomas must not have been the only doubting Thomas in the group. But gradually it dawned on them that this was the Risen Lord whom they were encountering and their sadness and fear turned into joy and peace. All they have been experiencing with the Risen Christ would be validated at Pentecost at the coming of the Holy Spirit.
And so, it is with how God acts in our lives, my life. Rarely does God come in lightning and thunder. Sure, there are important events in my life. Some are dramatic and spectacular, bringing about a paradigm shift in me. But when I look back, it was not a once-and-done thing. There were a series of small events that preceded it. A chance encounter here; some problems encountered there; small and seemingly unrelated event everywhere. Then, either slowly or suddenly, things fall into place. And I am simply awed by the hand of God leading acting in my life.
The changes on my life have not been as dramatic as St. Paul on the road to Damascus. I am more like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I have come to know and love the Lord better by paying attention to my feelings, searching his words as he speaks to me through many means, breaking bread and sharing meals with him through my family, friends, and community. I too found in myself the tomb empty. And it was in that emptiness that I truly encountered and found my Risen Lord.