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Yesterday was the day. I turned in my cell phone, computer and keys and I retired. Officially retired. Or, as some say, I started my permanent vacation. Although I’ve actually been on vacation and have not worked for six weeks, Monday will be the first day I haven’t been on my employer’s payroll in almost 36 years. I didn’t look back as I drove out the gate. Instead, I was looking forward to my next stop which was to church for my regularly scheduled hour of Eucharistic Adoration.

As I knelt in prayer giving God thanks for the moment and for a long and prosperous career, I willingly laid to rest a life which I no longer enjoyed. I put to stern the stress of my professional responsibilities that had grown to more than I was willing to let my health absorb. I moved the memories of years of travel and separation from my family to my rearview mirror. As I waved goodbye to a life with which I could no longer identify, I programed my GPS with an address of a new life in which I will have time to devote to better health and building more intimate relationships with not just my family and friends, but with Jesus.

Pulling myself away from those thoughts and back to the purpose at hand, of contemplating the life of Christ, I remembered that since it is the Easter Season my intention for the hour was to meditate on Christ’s resurrection by going back and reading those accounts from the Gospels.

I started with Mark chapter 16 and I pondered the fear and wonder the women experienced when they found Jesus’ body missing but found a ‘young man’ instead who told them to not be amazed. I thought about the confusion and excitement they probably experienced when they were told to, “Go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’” (Mk 16:7) I wondered what I would have thought had I been in their shoes.

I moved to Matthew chapter 28 and read in verse 10 that Jesus, upon meeting the women on their way back to tell the disciples that Jesus’ tomb was empty, told them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Then, I read in verse 20, after the disciples went to Galilee and met with Jesus, that He told them, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

I couldn’t imagine what might have been going through the minds of the Eleven. How could they process that Jesus had died but was living right before their eyes? I don’t know how they could fully understand but their strong faith at least allowed them to accept it and believe it. We have proof in the Acts of the Apostles that they did eventually connect the dots and make sense of everything that happened.

Thinking some more about Jesus meeting the Apostles in Galilee, I realized He had planned all along to meet with them upon His resurrection. In fact, it was absolutely essential that He meet them so that they would believe and continue to follow Him and carry out His will of spreading the Good News. The only way He could do that was by defeating death and crossing over into a new life in which He could, indeed, be with them always until the end of the age.

Then I remembered that Jesus didn’t just die for the Apostles, He died for you and me and all of humanity to save us from ourselves. It isn’t just the Apostles with whom He will be until the end of the age. It’s us, too. He crossed over into a new life so that He could have an intimate relationship with me.

I’m feeling pretty good right now about the reasons behind my decision to retire!

“Oh, loving and gracious God, as I move into this new life I give you thanks for the many blessings you have bestowed upon me, even the ones with which I struggled. You knew best. Lord Jesus, in my relationships with others, please help me to see You in them and let them see You in me. Holy Spirit, I pray for Your guidance on this exciting journey. Amen.”

(Crossing Over to a New Life was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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