Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
April 7, 2021
Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9; Luke 24:13-35
Today’s gospel is one of my favorites. I can only imagine how Cleopas and the other disciple on the road to Emmaus must have felt in the aftermath of Christ’s death. Their hopes of Jesus being the Messiah they had believed would defeat the Roman occupiers and usher in a new kingdom were crushed when he was crucified.
Jesus appears to them in disguise and joins them as they make the long seven mile walk from Jerusalem to their home village.
When they ask Jesus “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” can’t you just picture the twinkling in His eyes when He replies: “What sort of things?” Who says Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humor?
An important lesson for us in today’s gospel passage is that Jesus often comes to us in hidden ways. He’s hidden in the people that we meet and interact with every day. He’s hidden in those whom we try to avoid.
We meet Jesus in our co-workers when they are grumpy or impatient. We meet Jesus in the poor, the homeless and in every human being that crosses our path. So often we fail to see Him, let alone serve him by serving those in need of our assistance, in need of our unconditional love and compassion.
Jesus is really here among us, he is truly risen and present to us in others and in the small and hidden tasks we do for others every day. He’s present to us in everyone we meet and interact with, even in those we may try to avoid, those who may be living a lifestyle that is offensive to us, those who have different political beliefs than we have, those who may not practice their faith as we do.
How often we judge others by their outward appearances, by their actions, rather than looking past these appearances and actions to see Christ within them.
Jesus especially present to us in the Eucharist we will soon receive. The challenge for us to open our eyes and see Him there. We know that many people struggle with seeing Christ hidden in the Eucharist, yet it is in the Eucharist, the breaking of the bread at the end of their journey, that Cleopas and his friend ultimately recognize that Jesus is the stranger on the road who opened their minds and hearts to all that the scriptures reveal about him. It is only by faith, by grace, that we come to see that he is fully present in the Blessed Sacrament: body, blood, soul and divinity.
Today let us remember to look past the outward appearances of others that have been disfigured by sin. With eyes of faith we must see Christ in all of our brothers and sisters, especially those whose appearance and actions may offend or even frighten us. It’s easy to see the Lord in devout and faithful people, but it can be very difficult for us to see him in those whose lives have been broken by the effects of sin.
Let us ask the Lord to help us to see him in the people he has put on our path for us to love and serve. Let us ask him to open our eyes to his presence when he appears to us in disguise. Look into the eyes of your brothers and sisters in need and see Jesus present there.
And when Father elevates the host today in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, let us ask for the grace to see Jesus, Jesus who is truly and fully present to us in this mysterious sacrament. When we receive him, let us pray that he will open our hearts to recognize and serve him in whatever disguise he may appear to us today.
God bless you.