From a Creighton Student's Perspective
April 11, 2012
Junior, Theology and Classical & Near Eastern Civilizations Majors
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus appears to two disciples walking along on the road to Emmaus. Upon joining them, he prevents them from recognizing him, but engages them in discussion, a discussion that quickly turns into a teaching opportunity for Christ Jesus, “explaining to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself.” It is only when he breaks bread in their home that they recognize him, and then “he disappeared from their sight.”
Jesus certainly appears to us in mysterious ways, and he does so both outside and inside of ourselves. When he appears outside of ourselves, one of the places we find him is in other people. Jesus appears subtly, sometimes in the form of a smile or a kind word or action, but other times he appears more clearly, maybe in a deep conversation with our closest friends, a hug from the ones we love most, or getting to know a complete stranger at a deeper level by a miraculous chance. Sometimes we find him in other people just in the simple majesty of a crowd – hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people with the imprint of God upon them, going about their own days. Millions of individuals, and a prayer that the light of Jesus is an inferno in each of their hearts. And other times, we see him outside of us in all creation, in the silence of a forest or the majestic beauty of the sky, when dawn breaks and the sky is bathed in the hues of love. When Jesus appears inside of us, there is an immediate comfort, a sensation of love, a feeling of exuberant joy, from which we can finally become one of those through whom others recognize Jesus.
But then, there are the moments when we feel like we can’t recognize Jesus, when he “disappears from our sight.” Just because we cannot see him does not mean that he isn’t there, just like on the road to Emmaus. In fact, it just means that our eyes are closed, for some mysterious reason. And sometimes, that in itself can be Jesus’ teaching point to us. When we can’t see, that is when we turn to hearing. When we can’t hear, we turn to feeling. When none of our senses work, we turn to loving. And he is always there, waiting for the right moment to open our eyes and reveal himself to us. He always helps us, coaxing and encouraging, until finally we wake up and see him, and know that everything is okay. For there are many ways to recognize the ones we love most; let our selves be opened, and recognize Jesus!
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