Wednesday, April 12, 2023

From Father Frank

Last November,  I went to Assisi, Italy, the most beautiful place I have ever visited. You can feel the presence of St.Francis just by walking the very streets  he walked. One evening, just before the Basilica was to close, I was gazing at the frescoes by Giotto. I noticed a man standing near me but didn’t think much about it. But he kept standing there and I noticed he was smiling. I returned to the Giottos, sort of ignoring him, until he began to approach me, with that smile from coast to coast!!
He was a former parishioner of St. Teresa’s whom I have known for years. I finally recognized him….

When we see people we know, perhaps quite well, but we see them in a different context, we usually are prevented from recognizing them. The same experience happened to those two disciples in Luke’s gospel as they were walking back to their homes, in a village named Emmaus. Jesus joined them in their journey home, walking side by side, listening to them discuss what had happened to HIM, how He was rejected and crucified. They were discussing Jesus, as Jesus was walking right next to them!!!!

Something told those two disciples to welcome Jesus to a meal in their home, after He explained to them the Scriptures regarding the Messiah. As soon as Jesus broke the bread, He vanished. Those disciples, in astonishment at FINALLY recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread, they ran out to announce the joyful news. “Why were our hearts not burning inside,” they exclaimed. They didn’t recognize Christ because He was  out of context: Jesus was a “dead man” walking! Alive!!! Risen!!

We fail to recognize Jesus no less, in the countless ways he “walks with us” in ordinary life. He can only be recognized when we allow Him to be experienced in the most ordinary moments in life. Awareness. “Opening our eyes” to seeing Christ out of context, in ordinary places, in unusual places, in the stranger and in the one we see everyday.