By Jenna Ebener
On the day of Jesus’ resurrection, two disciples walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus discussing the tragedy of Jesus’ passion. “They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him … their faces downcast” (Luke 24: 14-16, 17).
I think there is a lot to learn from this Gospel passage. Here, Luke presents us with two of Jesus’ disciples a mere three days after his crucifixion. They heard Jesus had risen from the dead but had not yet seen him and did not know what to believe quite yet. When they encountered Jesus, they could not recognize him but also had to relive Jesus’s passion as they shared the news with this “stranger.”
Have you ever come to realize something you are seeking has been in front of you the whole time? A couple of examples come to mind for me. Near the peak of COVID-19, I remember entering an adoration service excited to adore our Lord. However, upon entering, I immediately became distracted by anxiety and anger because I was the only participant wearing a mask. Then, I started thinking about all of the stress at work, especially the worries that come with working with students who are medically fragile. I realized how distracted I was and thought about leaving and finding a different way to honor God. Instead, I made myself stay the whole hour and did my best to focus on Jesus. While my attention kept wavering, at the end of the service, I became completely immersed in the closing adoration songs and left with my heart full, grateful that I had stayed.
Another example comes from a form of exercise I never thought I would be into — dancing. In the effort to feel more connected to my body, I started doing some dancing exercises that focus on connection with your body and self-compassion. Within weeks, what started out as an activity that took a lot of emotional effort had morphed into one that now brings me great joy and peace.
What are you seeking in your life? Is there a chance it might be in front you and you do not even realize it? Life is filled with distractions, yet the story of the walk to Emmaus shows us that God has a beautiful way of working through things right in front of us, if only we look.
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem” (Luke 24: 30-33). What is it that God is asking you to see?
(Jenna Ebener, a graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with a combination of medical, cognitive and behavior disabilities. She relies on God every day to aid her on this wonderful, yet intense journey.)