I believe it to also be a function of God's compassion for us, his knowledge of what we can and can't handle at any given time. Throughout his ministry, Jesus revealed himself to the disciples in stages, not giving them too much before they are ready to handle it...
**I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.* (John 16:12)*
Jesus knows just what we need and gives it to us right when we need it, never forcing us before we can handle it. And he does so even after the ressurection.
**Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16)
Jesus doesn't just walk up to them and say, "Hey guys, check it out, I'm alive!" He hides himself and gently eases the disciples into it in a loving way, a Eucharistic way, first on the road to Emmaus. .
**And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. (Luke 30:31)
The two men on the road to Emmaus tell the disciples how he revealed himself Eucharistically...
**Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 30:25)
Simon Peter was already claiming to have seen the Lord but even so, through their frailty, the disciples are terrified when Jesus appears...
**While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. (Luke 30:36-37)
How wonderful our Lord is! He reveals himself in such a loving way...
**Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. (Luke 30:39-43)
He asks the disciples to come forward and see that it is really him, to look and to touch. Then he has a meal with them. And he reveals himself to us this way in the Eucharist, whenever we come forward to the altar to recieve him. He does not fully reveal himself in the flesh, but does so in a hidden way, still asking us to "See that it is really me" and inviting us to look upon him and touch him to know that he is real. And like that day when he at the baked fish, he asks us to have a meal with him.
The disciples thought they were seeing a ghost, that he wasn't real, in spite of being told by several people that he had been seen alive. And its the same way now. Catholics say, "Jesus is really present in the Eucharist" and we are told, "Oh, you crazy Catholics, It's just bread." Just like Thomas, secular society and mainstream Protestant Christianity refuses to believe.
**So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."* (John 20:25)*
But Jesus was real then and he is real now. The Eucharistic thread through the whole story is clear to me. He reveals himself to us the same way in the Eucharist as he did to his disciples after the ressurection, in a loving, compassionat way. In a hidden way. In a Eucharistic way.
**Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"* (John 20:27-28)*
The verse above could just as well have been written...
Then the Priest of God said to the parishoner, "Body of Christ." The parishoner answered and said to him, "Amen!"