Recognizing Jesus

Emmaus-icon

Readings for April 26, 2020

Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

www.usccb.org/bible/readings/

We have little knowledge of Cleopas and his companion. We have no idea how long they had been disciples of Jesus. We only know them by their actions on the road to Emmaus. When asked, they gave a pretty accurate account of the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. What they did not do, however, was recognize Jesus in their midst. Whether they missed the “suffering, dying, and raised up” teaching or could not make sense of their world having been turned upside down, “their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.” And, while their hearts burned as he taught them scripture, they continued not to recognize him until he did something which was apparently all too familiar to forget; he broke and blessed the bread.

I can relate to Cleopas and his companion because likewise, attending mass, witnessing the breaking and blessing of the bread, and receiving the Eucharist have always been how I recognize and remember Jesus’ sacrifice and its role in my own life. But this crazy virus pandemic has turned our world upside down. And, especially for me  as a Catholic, a Christian faith built upon the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist, it has been heartbreaking and disorienting to be told I must view mass from my TV at home instead of joining my community for the celebration of this holy sacrament. But this week’s scripture reminds my broken heart where my Savior is during difficult times such as these.

He is right beside us, walking the road with me, teaching me with his example of love. Let me say that again: Jesus is here with me now, I am not alone, I am wholly loved. And, while I long for it, I don’t need to taste the bread to be sure.

Instead, I need only look beside me. I can look at my oldest daughter who drops off cups of our favorite coffee and shares her puppy with us as a ray of joy in a tough week. Or my middle daughter who calls and sends pictures and videos of her new kitten. Or my youngest daughter, who is suddenly spending way more time with her parents than she had ever hoped or planned to during her second semester of college, but still makes a point to do and say things that make us smile. Or my wife who is still devotedly acting as caretaker for my father and has been a rock to him and to me in these uncertain times. Or my church community who, keeping us together with streaming videos of various activities including Mass, and doing things for community like making and delivering meals for the most hungry among us. Or my niece who is one of the many incredible hospital nurses preparing for and working to help others through this pandemic. And so many others.

We, as believers, help others recognize Christ in how we live our lives, just as those walking the road with him recognized him when he broke and blessed the bread. When we show our love for God in our adherence to His commands by showing our love to others with our kindness and acts of charity, Jesus will not remain unrecognized. Pour out love and walk beside another so that all may proclaim, “We have seen the Lord!”

My Lord Jesus, in my sin, I fail to recognize you. Give me the gift of faith and the grace to live my life in steadfast love for you and for those you have placed into my life. I ask this in recognition of you as my Lord and my Christ. Amen

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