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Seeing Jesus in Others - Weekday Homily Video

Seeing Jesus in Others - Weekday Homily Video

Learn more about our faith  |  Holy lives of inspiration

There was a professor in our seminary who was teaching us homiletics. He was trying to impress upon the students the importance of using facial expressions to express feelings when preaching. 

"When you speak of heaven," he said, "Let your face light with a heavenly glow, when you speak of hell, your everyday face will do." 

Sometimes, our "everyday face" reflects the hell we are going through. For the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus after hearing their Master's death, the facial expression reflected a "hell" of deep sadness and disappointment they were going through.



But later in the evening, they return with joy and zeal to the company of apostles and believers whom they had abandoned earlier that day. What happened to them to cause this dramatic turnaround? They met a stranger on the way – a stranger who did not quite look like Jesus but who turned out to be Jesus after all.  


The Road to Emmaus


In the Gospel today, two disciples have just returned from their walk and meal with Jesus on the way to Emmaus. They are telling the others what happened when, all of a sudden, Jesus is there! Everyone is “startled and terrified!”  

Do you remember the experience of seeing someone familiar but not being able to place them? You know for sure you know them from somewhere — but where? What is their name? I suspect we've all experienced it, perhaps more often than others. It used to happen to me always having worked in different schools. I would see a past student out of school – and, more crucially, out of school uniform or a parent of the student or a parishioner from my previous parish – and I was just not quite able to place them correctly. 

Parents often tell their children, "Never speak to strangers!" Perhaps if the disciples had followed this advice, they wouldn't have met the risen Lord. We might have missed the presence of the risen Lord in our lives many times because of our fear of strangers. 

Cleopas and his companion shared everything with a stranger they met, even their meal and shelter. In the process of this sharing, in breaking bread together, the moment of revelation came, and they suddenly realized that the person they had welcomed as a helpless stranger was actually Jesus, the answer to all their heart's questions. 


Resurrection Grace


The resurrection was a defining moment for Jesus. It marked the transition from his earthly life as a Jewish male to his new form as the risen Lord. In this new form, he is not limited to any particular body type or identity; He is seen passing through doors and walls. He appears in all forms and to all people — regardless of gender, race, age, wealth, physical ability, nationality, or religion. Even though we may view those who are different from us as strangers, today's Gospel encourages us to start perceiving them as fellow travelers on life's journey. 

Today pray for the grace to overcome a crippling fear of strangers, for the courage to approach those who are different from us, knowing that, just like the lonely stranger on the way to Emmaus, the strangers on our way may indeed turn out to be Jesus. 


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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.