Several years ago I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The impressions and experiences I gained there would fill up so many pages, I have found that over time, I have to share the stories, just a few here and there – because to tell it all, would overpower me and the world.
But one of the most wonderful times there was the day we visited the town of Emmaus. That’s the place where Jesus met up with two members of his fan club, just days after the crucifixion and resurrection. I love this story for so many reasons – it is so comical when the two ask Jesus if he had heard of the events of the past days. I mean, there he is, with holes in in hands and feet – a slash in his side, surely the marks of the crown of thorns still evident, and they are clueless as to who he is. If Jesus was not such a gentleman, I think he would have looked at them, pointed to his head, hands and feet and said, “duh…” in his most sarcastic voice.
But he didn’t. As usual, the savior and lover of the world held his tongue and waited – walked and waited with those two people until they were ready and able to see him…and I love when that happened:” in the breaking of the bread.”
I got to preach the day we visited Emmaus – at a lovely, cool and shady spot, with a stone altar and benches…on a beautiful day. I talked about my grandmother – Nana – who, if she had been on that road on that day long ago, would have recognized Jesus, because she was always looking for him. She looked for him in in the homeless men who came to her back door asking for a bite to eat and some change for the bus. She looked for him in the people she went to church with, and those whom she did not. She looked for him, especially, in those people whom she did not understand, with whom she had fallen out, or misjudged. She was just always looking for him – expecting – expecting! – to meet him on the road at the next turn.
I have thought a lot about that in these strange times. It is hard to see Jesus in the people who are lying, cheating, and endangering others…who demonstrate such a callous lack of regard for others’ human lives. “What’s a couple more deaths, if it means my IRA will blossom back?” But if we truly believe what Jesus has taught, not only with words, but with his life, Jesus can be found with them as well as with those whom we see as self-less, generous and loving. The words of that old Cursillo hymn remind me: “Have you seen, Jesus, my Lord; he’s here in plain view. Turn around, open your eyes, he’ll show it to you.”
In these days of challenge and promise, may we keep our eyes peeled. He’s here in plain view, if we look with eyes of expectation and love.