While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Luke 24:15-16
In this Sunday’s upcoming gospel lesson, we meet two men on their way to Emmaus. The Risen Jesus comes near and journeys alongside them, but they don’t recognize that it’s he who is with them.
May this story bring great comfort to us. Just think! Upon any literal or figurative roads we travel, Christ is often right there, even if we don’t recognize his presence right away.
He may show up in the face of a stranger whose story moves us or to whom we suddenly begin sharing the tender parts of our life story. We may find ourselves enriched in sharing or receiving unexpected kindness and feel Christ was there in the exchange.
One such time for me was waiting to board a plane with my small children a mere month after their father had died. We were flying from Portland, Oregon to Madison, Wisconsin for his final funeral and burial. It was our first trip together without their father.
An older woman struck up conversation with my 3-year-old daughter, McKenna. She asked McKenna who she was visiting. McKenna replied, “My daddy lives in the clouds.” Without missing a beat, the woman replied, “My daddy lives in the clouds, too.”
The encounter stays with me. In those early days of widowhood, I carried with great weight the stigma of this new identity as a young mother. I hated the idea of trying to explain our story.
Looking back, I felt the Risen Christ right there reminding me through the woman’s exchange with McKenna, “You are not alone in this journey of grief.”
What encounters have you shared with another where you felt the presence of Christ in your midst?