In the opening lines of the Gospel today(Luke 24.35-48) we hear about the 2 disciples who had been on the road to Emmaus, and had encountered the risen Jesus, sharing their experience and, I’m sure, their excitement and joy at this meeting.
You could probably picture their faces when Jesus all of a sudden appears; startled and frightened, they thought they were seeing a ghost.
I was particularly drawn to how Jesus was trying to convince the disciples that he is real, that it is indeed Him. He invites them; “Look at my hands and feet… Touch me and see,” and, “Do you have anything to eat?” It is in these small and simple gestures that Jesus invites them to recognize Him. We may wonder, “Why would they not have believed?” Especially when they had heard that this was what was to come, in Jesus’ own words, and when they had seen first-hand all that he had done!
We are also faced with these same moments in our own lives, moments where Jesus appears to us and He invites us to recognize Him. Quite honestly we can also be caught off guard, like the disciples were, and have a hard time recognizing Him. But He calls us to; recognize Him in our spouse, to recognize Him in our family members or our friend, to recognize Him even in a stranger. It’s not always easy to recognize the face of Christ, especially when He comes to us through someone who has hurt us, someone who we see is not making good choices, or in someone whom we don’t get along with. Sometimes we can be blinded by our own pride, like the crowd and the Pharisees were to Jesus, while other times it can be our selfishness.
But Jesus understands His disciples disbelieving. They had joy even though they doubted. And He called them to look outside of themselves, outside of their inner doubt. They were open to Him, and in turn He opened their minds and their hearts to see. It is not something that we can simply grasp with our own human understanding, that Christ suffered and rose from the dead to forgive our sins. But through His invitation to us we can open ourselves to encounter Him in others and He can open our minds to understand this great mystery, this reality of His great love for each of us.
Let us come before Jesus with hearts open to His love, open to His presence, open to His resurrection in our lives, because when we come to Him with openness He responds, not holding back but revealing the truths of His life and His love for us. Let us take up our invitation to be witnesses to these things in our lives and seek to recognize Him in all that we do and in whomever we meet today, travelling on this road to new life in Him.
Stare at the 4 black dots in the centre of this picture for about 15 seconds.
Close your eyes and keep them closed until an image appears.
What did you see?