Who are you looking for?
This striking question put to the soldiers in the garden of Gethsemane begins the drama of his arrest, his trial, his crucifixion and resurrection that we have been commemorating for the last few days.Who are you looking for? Jesus of Nazareth, they reply. The soldiers, along with the chief priests and leaders were indeed looking for Jesus. But unlike the blind, and the crippled and the anguished who came looking for Jesus before them, they were looking for Jesus so that they could silence him, so that they could put an end to his ministry. And in the eyes of the world, they succeeded in doing just that. They succeeded in arresting Jesus. They succeeded in having him put to death in the most humiliating way possible. They stripped the Nazarene of the clothes on his back, of his human dignity and left him to die nailed to a tree.
That was it, as far as they were concerned. The job was done. All the commotion caused by the outspoken son of a Galilean carpenter, who even claimed to be the Son of God, would come to an end. Or so it seemed…
But not all those who looked for Jesus of Nazareth looked to kill him. many others heard the voice of Jesus echo those same words in their hearts : “Who are you looking for”? They too answered : “Jesus of Nazareth” and they left everything they had to follow him.
Mary of Magdela went to the tomb looking for Jesus early on the first day of the week. But very quickly she realised that he was no longer there. Peter and John come running to the tomb in search of Jesus. The sight of the linen cloths in the empty tomb cause the beloved disciple to believe. We often hear people use the expression “seeing is believing”. Yet all the beloved disciple sees is an absence, a void, the four walls of an empty tomb. And still he believes. He believes because he realises that from now on, it will take more than human eyes to see Jesus. His encounter with the Risen Christ needs the eyes of faith too.
We all spend our time looking for things…looking for happiness, looking for that perfect job, looking for the ideal spouse, looking for the dream home. But what is it that we are really looking for? As Christians, we long to encounter Jesus and to experience the warmth of his love. We long to know him so that he can draw us more deeply into the mystery of the Triune God. But very often, we look for him in the empty tomb, in places where we only meet with frustration and disappointment, because they just aren’t the places where Christ is to be found.
The wonderful miracle of the resurrection is that the Risen Christ cannot be limited to any worldly place. Nor can he be boxed into our own neat little human categories. His appearance to the disciples who were huddled behind locked doors in the upper room is proof of that. The resurrection, then, brings about a new era, an era when Christ who has triumphed over death will bring new life to all who look for him.
Who then are you looking for? We are looking forJesus of Nazareth, for Christ the Lord! But remember, in order to see him, we must first lift our eyes of faith above the limits of our own problems and preoccupations. In the words of St. Matthew : “He is not here, for he has risen, just as he said”!
So lets lift up eyes of faith today, that we may see the Risen Christ who calls each of us by name, and promises us that where he has gone, we too will one day follow.
The Lord is risen. Indeed he is risen. Alleluia!