Call to Him while He is still near. Isaiah 55:6 (NAB)
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on, but they pressed him to stay with them saying, ‘It is nearly evening, and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Luke 24: 28-30 (NJB)
Yesterday’s gospel of Jesus on the road to Emmaus with His disciples is one of my favorites. At Mass, Father said that it is considered the most significant of all of the gospel readings after the Resurrection. What a rich passage for meditation!
One of the points which Father made in his homily was that Jesus did not appear in front of the disciples, to lead them. Rather, He met them where they were. He joined in with them. He asked questions, and patiently listened to their responses. Only after He had heard all they had to say did He begin to instruct them.
My favorite part of this gospel story is Jesus acting as though He was parting ways with the disciples, and going on further by Himself. It is only after they entreated Him that He agreed to join them where they were staying.
Oh the Divine Charm of Jesus Who wishes to be invited into our lives! As we long for others to love us and to desire our companionship, infinitely more so does the God-Man. Back at the Garden tomb, He approaches Mary Magdalen as a stranger and asks: Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?
He knew, of course. But it seems He wanted to hear her say that she was searching for Him and that she would go and take Him away if only she could find Him. How welcome those words of love and concern must have been to Jesus, after so much suffering, rejection and finally death, only a few days before.
And so it was on the road to Emmaus: ….but they pressed Him to stay with them…
And so it is with us. Jesus is always peering between the lattices (Song of Songs 2:9). He is always asking us: Who are you looking for? He walks beside us, hoping we will notice He is there, that we will seek His company and beg Him to stay with us. And if we do, He will surely make our hearts burn within us, just as He did to those on the road to Emmaus..
It is interesting to note that after Jesus rose from the dead, He did not allow those He loved to cling to Him. His meetings with them were usually brief. It was not like before when He lived among them and they had access to Him almost always.
He was preparing to ascend to the Father. His time on earth had ended, but His reign in Heaven was about to begin. He took His place on a glorious throne as King of kings and Lord of lords. But, Jesus is also a Bridegroom. Yours and mine. Like no other bridegroom we can imagine, Jesus is deeply, madly in love with His promised bride.
He hides from us to stir up our desire for Him. When we least expect it, He may show Himself for an instant:
I hear my love knocking.
Open to me, my sister, my beloved,
my dove, my perfect one….
I opened to my love,
but he had turned and gone.
My soul failed at his flight,
I sought but could not find him,
I called, but he did not answer. Song of Songs 5: 2,6 (NJB)
Yes, the Divine Bridegroom yearns for His bride, but He will not tarry now. He is preparing a great Wedding Feast. If we long for Him now, if we desire His company above all others, one day we shall be united with Him completely, never to be separated again for we shall possess Him forever!
I belong to my love, and my love to me. Song of Songs 6:3 (NJB)