In today’s gospel reading at Mass, we read that Jesus appeared to His disciples at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. And this was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.
But, have you ever wondered why Jesus was so secretive about showing Himself to the world after the Resurrection? If I were to be His marketing consultant, I would have scheduled all kinds of events and appearances. Wouldn’t you?
Actually, the heart of the Christian faith is the Resurrection of Jesus. As St. Paul wrote in First Corinthians, “If Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile.”
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key. So, if someone claims to be a Christian but does not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then he is simply fooling himself.
Since our true saving faith holds on belief in the Resurrection, why didn’t Jesus spend all His time appearing to as many people as possible? After all, all the people that saw Him after the crucifixion would have been one less person who needed to be convinced by the apostle’s preaching.
After the few-and-far-between appearances of Jesus Christ, He ascended back into Heaven in less than six weeks after rising from the tomb. He, therefore, left it all up to the disciples to convince the world that the Resurrection really happened.
But, why didn’t Jesus travel the whole country for at least three years after the Resurrection as He did for three years before the Resurrection?
Why didn’t He spend the next 50 years appearing in Greece and Rome and all the other major cultural centers? And now that I am thinking about it, why didn’t He stay on earth for at least 2,000 more years so that I could have seen Him in the flesh?
Nevertheless, this may come as a shock to many people, but God hardly ever consults with us before making plans or even though some of us could have come up with dozens of ideas to get Jesus a great exposure.
But in all, Jesus gave an answer to these questions, when He spoke to Doubting Thomas: “You believe because you have seen Me; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ out of faith. Because faith is a lot like love. It is only genuine when we are free to say yes or no. Only when we have the option NOT to believe, then will our faith be special when we DO believe.
St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews explains that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” However, faith contains an element of trust. We have to have trust that the Resurrection really occurred even though we were not eyewitnesses.
Our belief in the Resurrection is not blind faith; it is not an illogical leap into Fantasyland. There are many convincing pieces of evidence that the words of Scriptures are true. It’s clear that Jesus knew what He was doing at all times which includes His limited and sporadic appearances after the Resurrection.