Easter, the commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, is the principal feast of the Catholic liturgical year. Easter Sunday begins the eight-day Octave of Easter, which concludes on Divine Mercy Sunday. The Easter season, however, continues until Pentecost, lasting 50 days in all. During this time, the faithful reflect on Jesus’s Resurrection and on the General Resurrection, when the bodies of everyone who ever lived will be raised from the dead and reunited with their souls before the Last Judgment.
In order to help us enter into the mystery of Christ’s Resurrection, Bishop Alfred Schlert offered the following meditation in response to this question from AD Today:
Why, after He rose from the dead, did Jesus show Himself to some people and not others?
We do not know exactly how many people the Lord appeared to after His Resurrection. The Gospels tell us about a few of these instances and lead us to believe that He appeared at numerous other times that are not recorded.
At these times, did the Lord appear to people with whom He had a relationship or an encounter during his public ministry? He could have appeared to the woman in Samaria, for example, just to check back in and say, “See, everything I said was true.” He could have appeared to those present at the Sermon on the Mount. There is also a beautiful spiritual speculation that the Lord first appeared to His Blessed Mother.
With the exception of the Blessed Mother, the people whom we know Jesus appeared to, such as St. Thomas and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, all needed to have their faith bolstered. The Blessed Mother did not need to have her faith bolstered, but she probably did need consolation.
One way to think about it is by asking, if we came back from the dead, who would we go to? Probably not to our barber, but to the people we love most in order to let them know we were alive.
While we don’t know all the details, we can guess that the Lord appeared to those closest to Him in order to bolster their faith and provide consolation. This gives us a very beautiful, very tender image of the Lord.