Picture: Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emaus by Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) National Gallery of Ireland.
LET ME SEE WITH THE EYES OF FAITH,
LET ACT WITH A PASSION FOR JUSTICE.
Be thou my vision: www.theirishblessing.com
Mary Magdalen, who had eyes for Jesus alone, saw him and mistook him for the gardener. Two disciples walked miles with him between Jerusalem and Emmaus, talked hours with him, and thought him a stranger. To recognize the risen Jesus, you would have needed a special grace – as when Jesus murmured to Magdalene “Mary”, or broke bread with Cleopas and his friend at Emmaus.
Jesus didn’t ask us to adore him but to follow him.
Jesus calls us to a new way of being in the world. What this means for the spiritual journey of marginal persons such as women is that God’s redeeming action is taking place right now as they see their own liberation and that of others. Far from supporting the oppression of women, Jesus’ vision calls for the elimination of structures of domination and submission. All who call themselves his disciples share this prophetic mission. The stories of women in the New Testament portray the liberating power of Jesus’ presence and message.
The Maid in the Emmaus Story.
What was it that kept the disciples from recognising Jesus?
Were they preoccupied with their own sense of loss, and not able to pay attention and listen to the message of the stranger “as he explained the scriptures to them?”
It can happen us too, we can be caught up with so much we become blocked to His presence in the very preoccupations we have.
Walking along, needing to put words on the fears and anxieties, questions of life and death, they were glad to have someone listen.
Jesus patiently reflected with them all that had happened in the light of what they already knew, and waited for their reaching out to him.
Who He was dawned on them at the ordinary « breaking of bread », the sharing of food, sustenance, needed for the journey.
The woman in the picture of the Emmaus Supper seems to recognise Jesus before the disciples did. Had she encountered Him before?
Although she is in the foreground of the picture and outside the scene of Jesus talking to the disciples, yet she is alert to His presence, aware of something different, as if it dawns on her who He is.
Perhaps she represents the poor, the excluded, those who seem different.
Is she calling us to be present, open to surprise, ready to hear and recognise Jesus in the everyday?
As disciples of Jesus, we are called to open our hearts to the cry of the poor and of the earth and to be moved to prophetic action through advocacy and works of justice.
I am convinced of one thing: the great changes in history were realized when reality was seen not from the centre but rather from the periphery. Today’s world does not know how to cry. The emarginated people, those left to one side, are crying. Those who are discarded are crying. Certain realities of life we only see-through eyes cleansed by our tears. I invite each one to ask yourself: Have I learned how to weep?
The option for poor people has always been a hallmark of religious life down the ages. What we are now stressing is that we do this as brothers and sisters, out of a sense of real solidarity, knowing that we have more to learn than to share.
The model of Church out of which we aspire to operate is that of the Church of poor people. The spirituality of the Church of poor people bewails the seeming absence of God in the violations of human dignity, the affronts to life, and in the abuse and destruction of human and earth eco-systems. It affirms that paradoxical presence of the Mystery we call God in these situations. It strives to bear testimony to this saving presence among the people through solidarity with them in their struggles. It is a Church where poor people, equal to all others in dignity, are not only evangelised but become evangelisers themselves. It is a Church where no one is so poor as to have nothing to give, and no one is so rich as to have nothing to receive.
In the busyness of this day, grant me the stillness of seeing, O God. In the conflicting voices of my heart grant me a calmness of hearing. Let my seeing and hearing, my words and actions be rooted in a silent certainty of your presence. Let my passions for life and the longings for justice that stir within me be grounded in the experience of your stillness. Let my life be rooted in the ground of your peace, O God. Let me be rooted in the depths of your peace. Amen.
LSA JPIC Commission Ireland
 Burghardt, Walter J. SJ: Lovely in Eyes no His, pp. 43-44.
 Fischer, Kathleen: Women at the Well, p. 83.
 Munnar Chapter Document 2008.
 Pope Francis, January 2015
 Christian Brothers: Praying in a New Time: Philip Pinto 2012.
 Newell, John Philip: Celtic Benediction.