I can’t tell you how many times I have been waiting for a train on the platform, staring indirectly at someone I know when they finally wave and happily say, “Hello? You’ve been looking right at me forever…” Or even worse, when a friend sends me a text saying “saw you on the train this morning and waved but you didn’t even notice. LOL” It’s a common, if not altogether unsettling situation. Am I losing my mind? How can I be looking right at someone I know, but not recognize them? It’s a strange feeling, especially when their greeting shakes my memory and, like a veil being lifted, I see them for the first time.
This is what the followers of Jesus were faced with when encountering the resurrected Christ. On more than one occasion, Jesus—they’re teacher, friend and Lord is standing before them, even talking to them and yet they do not recognize him. I don’t think this is a case of visual agnosia or brain damage, but rather a disconnect between what they believed and knew and what they were expecting or looking for.
The disciples of Christ believed in him as the Messiah, the chosen one, and yet their own journey with him was cut short. Even though Jesus had told them he would return saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again” they couldn’t grasp the fullness of his statements—was he speaking in parable, again? We, on the other hand, have the benefit of hindsight. We know the resurrection story well and see how a resurrected Christ fulfilled communion with his followers and brought them and us closer to God. We state in our memorial acclimation, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” Do we look for him in creation? Can we see him in others around us? And, will we recognize him when we stand before him, face to face?
Prayer: Lord, let me see you that I may know you better.