In the Gospel for Sunday, Jesus suddenly appears beside two men who are walking dejectedly back home to their village. All their dreams and hopes are dashed. But for some reason, they did not recognize Jesus. They were seeing him, but not seeing him.
It reminds me of the story of two men discussing a pair of horses that they have owned for a number of years. The first man admits that although he has had the horses for a long time he still cannot tell one from the other. The second man confesses that he too had this problem for the longest time, until he eventually realized that the brown horse had longer ears than the white one. We see, but don’t see.
One of my favorite things is seeing a person looking at his watch to check the time. Right away I ask him/her what time it is. Without exception, they will look back down at their watch before telling me. We see, but don’t see.
So many times when walking the hallways of St. Paul’s or maybe the aisles of a store, I will pass someone, oblivious to who they might be. Only when they hail me and I really look at them do I realize I was a million miles away. I saw him, but didn’t see him.
That “seeing but not seeing” usually comes because we are preoccupied with something, usually negative. The apostles were preoccupied by their cowardice. The two men were deep in gloom because of dashed hopes. When I’m thinking happy things, I’m aware of my surroundings. When negative thinking is going on, I’m turned inward.
Jesus appears to us many times in the course of a day. Are you present to the moment and therefore able to know right away that the hand of Jesus has touched you? Or are you turned inward, seeing but not seeing, and a moment of encounter with the divine has passed by?
God bless you, my friend!
Fr. Herb Yost, C.S.C.