So much has happened in our world since I last submitted a reflection for this publication. Much is different. I have found that even the way I approach the Scriptures has changed. I read them now in light of the pandemic and I find the presence of God through them but always in light of the changes I have experienced.
As Christians we are celebrating the Season of Easter. During this time we hear how the followers of Jesus grappled with the resurrection. This coming Sunday we read of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They are walking along discussing what they have just experienced regarding their beloved Jesus. He has suffered and died on the cross. They are so deep in discussion that when Jesus Christ joins them, they do not recognize him. He asked them what they have been talking about. They wonder why he does not understand. So they tell him about what has happened. He sheds a different light on the happening indicating that this Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross if resurrection was to become a reality. He chose to tell them why this was true as he explained the Scriptures to them. They only recognized him later when he stayed and broke bread with them. He then vanished. They returned to Jerusalem to the other disciples and revealed how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
As I read this Gospel from the community of Luke, I read it in light of the pandemic. Aren’t we like the disciples on the road to Emmaus? Don’t you find yourself as you take a walk and encounter neighbors that you speak of the pandemic? When speaking with family members doesn’t the topic come up again and again? Do you make calls to friends whom you are not able to gather and speak of the pandemic? It occupies much of our minds as we struggle to fill our time with worthy causes assisting others and tackling various tasks around the house. Is it possible we can miss the presence of God as did the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Our challenge is to recognize the face of God in all whom we meet. The face of God is there in those who work in health related fields, in pharmacies, in grocery stores, in trucking, in the postal service, in waste management, in research, in nursing homes and in education. The face of God is in every home in parents, children, and in grandchildren. God is there in those who live alone. God’s face is present in each and every one of us.
Pierre Teihard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest, philosopher, and paleontologist who died in 1955, made this prayerful statement. “Grant us to recognize in others, Lord God, the radiance of your own face.” When we do we will know that the risen Lord is walking with us. We can reveal him to others through our own faces as we live according to his way.
– Helen Ackerman