Monday, March 24, 2008

Who is the Woman Behind the Mask?

I was talking to my dental hygienist the other day and she was talking about her upcoming wedding. I always peruse the engagement section of our newspaper, but I missed hers. She pointed to a copy of her engagement picture clipped from the paper. I sat there is disbelief. I wouldn't have recognized her if she had walked past me on the street!

We laughed at how her hair is always up and her unrecognizable face is always disguised by a mask.

I was thinking about our conversation as I reviewed the scripture readings for this week. This week we will spend a lot of time reading about people who didn't recognize Jesus. Particularly, on Tuesday, we read that Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was the gardener!

This passage has always struck me. Did Jesus look like the gardener, or did Mary just assume that because he was there, that he was? And then my thoughts go on to consider how often, maybe, I have not recognized Jesus in others. We understand, especially from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, that we can see the face of Jesus in the poor, the sick and the dying. Can we also see Jesus in the cashier at the grocery store? My sibling, parent or friend? Or, like Mary, do we mistake him?

A greater challenge in some ways, I suppose, is seeing Jesus in the Eucharist. Do I recognize our Lord in that tiny piece of bread or in the cup?

Whether you meet Jesus on the street today, in the Eucharist, or both, be sure not to be like Mary and mistake him for someone else!

Also this week, if you are paying close attention, you will see that Jesus' identity became known when he spoke a name, broke bread or performed a miracle. This clearly indicates to us that Jesus knows us, connects with us, even when we are not aware of His presence.

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