By Jenna Ebener
“Jesus, I see you.” Over and over, I repeated that phrase in my head to Jesus as I administered holy Communion. I said it as I looked into the eyes of each recipient of the body of Christ and, each time, I felt a warmth deep within me.
It has become my habit to seek out Jesus in others each day. Some days, such as when I am an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, Jesus is so visibly present that I do not have to seek him out. Other days, I need to actively seek him out in others, especially when I am frustrated or stressed. Regardless of the situation, the moment I seek out Jesus, I feel a sense of calm and love. Whether or not the other person is acting out of love or a negative emotion, Jesus is always in that person and wanting to be seen. No matter the situation, he wants us to always seek him out. If we truly see him in every circumstance, we can not help but respond with love.
What a peaceful world we would live in if only we used our eyes to see the good in others! If we truly looked at each person, we would see so much more than what is apparent. Don’t we all want to be truly known by at least one other person? It is human nature to want to feel understood. Some of the movies and books that have made the biggest impact on me are the ones where two characters can truly see each other as they are, flaws and all. They can appreciate and love each other even more deeply, no matter the type of relationship. I see you as you are. I see the mask you hide behind. I see the story that has shaped you. It takes time to form such a level of understanding with even one person. Yet, we can start by recognizing Jesus in others and knowing that there is more to their story.
The recent Sunday Gospel of the Good Samaritan shows us the path. The Samaritan did not know the story of the man on the road. He did not know whether he was a person with good or bad intentions. He only knew that the man was supposed to be an enemy of his. He also knew that the man deserved to be loved and so showed him the love that we all seek and need.
Jesus showed us that the way to truly love God with all our heart, being, strength and mind is to love others just as deeply. Love does not justify bad intentions or actions but rather opens the door to healing and change. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
If we look beyond the darkness in others, we can see that Jesus is trying to push through. Sometimes, all it takes is a little love so he can burst his way to the surface.
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.
Give me Your eyes so I can see. (Brandon Heath, “Give Me Your Eyes”)
(Jenna Ebener, who has a Master of Social Work from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with disabilities.)