WHERE CAN WE FIND JESUS?
(A biblical reflection on THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR A], 4 May 2014)
First Reading: Acts 2:14,22-33; Psalms: Psalm 16:1-2,7-11; Second Reading: 1Peter 1:17-21; Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35
The Eleven were assembled in their old familiar meeting place in Jerusalem, wondering among themselves: “Where’s Jesus?” The women who had gone to the tomb before dawn and failed to find Him, asked in their puzzlement: “Where’s Jesus?” The two travelers on the road to the little town of Emmaus were engaged in asking: “Where’s Jesus?” When we sincerely pray and the prayer seems to return empty, like a hollow echo; when we hurt and beg for help but are not healed, we cry out: “Where’s Jesus?”
Today’s Gospel reading asks that same intriguing question and provides an exciting answer. It’s a classic story which can be read dozens of times and still provide new insights into the age-old search for Jesus.
The Lord walks with us seven days a week, as surely as He walked the seven miles to Emmaus, with Cleopas and his unnamed companion. Even though we don’t invite Jesus to walk with us, He still runs to our side and joins us for the journey – whether for seven miles, seven days or seventy years. He walks with us and talks with us and tells us of His love. If only we could recognize Him!
We can’t find Jesus by returning to the places where He used to be, as the apostles went to the meeting room and the women went to the grave site. The tomb is empty and the Lord is on the road again, right where we are. He predicted that where two or more are gathered in His name, we should expect His presence. For that reason, we dare not ignore the stranger in our midst.
When we have traveled with Him a mile a day, at the end of the seventh day we invite Him to eucharistically stay with us, for evening is at hand and we want His security and light to dispel the darkness.
There is so very much we don’t know about the Lord; but as we gather around His table at the end of seven miles, we can watch Him take, bless, break and give Himself to us. He is our spiritual strength for the next mile and for every step of the journey ahead. It’s His unique way of staying and sharing our company even though we might think He is far away. Each time we receive His glorified body in Holy Communion, our minds are opened to more deeply appreciate His marvellous revelations. Repeatedly He vanishes into the Bread and the Bread vanishes into our lives to make us like Him.
We, in turn, can become the mysterious Stranger, giving courage to the doubtful, that their hearts will burn with love and that, rising up, they will walk through the night and find their way back home.
So where can we find Jesus? On the road, in deeds of kindness, in believing hearts, in the words of Scripture and in the breaking of the Bread.
Source: Rev. James McKarns, GO TELL EVERYONE, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 27-29.
Jakarta, 4 May 2014
A Christian Pilgrim