In the gospel for the Feast of Christ the King (Matt 25:31-46), both those who are saved and accursed ask the same question: "Lord, when did we see you...?" Apparently, Jesus had appeared to them in ways that they did not recognize Him: as hungry, thirsty, naked, ill, imprisoned and as a stranger. How were they expected to see Jesus in such misery? They recognized Him now, "...all the angels with Him, [sitting] upon His glorious throne, and all the nations assembled before Him." (v.31-32) But as an unemployed, homeless accoholic? A single woman with six kids living out of her car? You gotta be kidding!
Since the beginning, failing to see Jesus was pretty commonplace. In Luke 2:7, it was the innkeeper who only saw a poor Galilean couple, the lady ready to give birth any moment. Was there really no room, or did the innkeeper decide that Mary and Joseph were only fit for a stable?. Maybe the innkeeper thought it would be a better idea to save his rooms for a higher class visitor. The disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) had no idea who the stranger was who walked with them until he revealed himself in the Breaking of the Bread. Mary Magdelene, who was so close to Our Lord, failed to recognize him at the empty tomb (John 20:14-16); the disciples, when Jesus called out to them from the shore, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" (John 21:4-7), did not know who he was.
In his book, "Abandonment to Divine Providence" Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade wrote: " 'Truly', said Jacob, 'God is in this place and I knew it not.' (Gen 28:16) You seek God, yet He is everywhere. Everything proclaims Him; everything gives Him to you. He walks by your side, is around you and within you; there He dwells and yet you seek Him. What you are really seeking is your own idea of God...vainly striving after sublime ideas. But God will not come to you clothed in them."
The life of Our Lord was full of clues of where we could find Him. He was with the outcasts, the sinners, the misfits, those not fit for decent society. He is among those suffering, those in need. That's where He's always been seen. God, without fail, comes to us in ways that we can reject Him.
In Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic, The Little Prince, the author writes:
It is only with the heart
That one can see rightly
What is essential
is invisible to the eye.
Jesus is essential. He is the "one thing" necessary that Mary has chosen and that her sister, Martha, has failed to see. (Luke 10: 38-42). "Could there be greater blindness than to believe what we believe, and yet live as we are living?", asked the 16th century spiritual writer, Louis of Granada. "Is it not a blindness equal to madness...to be wholly regardless of God...to desire that all we possess should be good, except our own life?"
Jesus told us how to gain eternal life. In Luke 10: 25-28, the scholar of the Law asks Him that very question. And the answer is, quite simply, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." Then the Lord said,"...do this and you will live."
So it's about love. With Jesus, it's always about love. We need to open the "eyes of our heart" We need to grow in God's love and see His Presence in everyone, especially in those with whom He always identified, those who are suffering, those in need. God is love. And knowing that, St. Augustine wrote:
"They that have love are born of God; they that have not love are not. This is the great dividing mark. Have what else you will, if this one thing you have not, all is to no purpose. If you lack all the rest, have this."
Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.