See deeply to recognize Christ

By | April 14, 2010

During the Easter season, one spiritual exercise that is worth pursuing is to strive to see the risen Lord in our daily life. As Christians, we believe that Jesus is still with us in a variety of ways, and our faith helps us to recognize him under many disguises.


Bishop Robert Morneau

In today’s Gospel we watch Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and two others come ashore after their amazing catch of 153 fish. They knew it was Jesus and nothing could persuade them otherwise.

It would seem that a central way of seeing the risen Lord is wherever we find authentic love being expressed. Three times Jesus asked Peter about his capacity to love. When Peter went about teaching in the name of Jesus and communicating the message of God’s forgiveness of sins, we are in the presence of the Body of Christ. Jesus continues to be present and manifest in those whom he has chosen to be apostles and disciples. We recognize the Body of Christ whenever and wherever there is love, joy and peace. These fruits of the Holy Spirit indicate the presence of grace and of the divine.

Another way of “knowing it is the Lord” is through those who are hurting. Jesus comes to us in the poor and lonely, the abandoned and the suffering, the stranger and the hungry. That is why Peter is asked the question of love: Do you love me in all those you meet? Everyone is made to the image and likeness of God. If we see deeply enough, we will come to recognize Christ in every person we meet. Indeed, we will come to see Christ in ourselves, despite our weaknesses and sins.

In her book of selected poems, “No One Can Stem the Tide,” Jane Tyson Clement speaks of an experience of sitting at the edge of the woods, watching, wondering and waiting. She wrote “What would I do, O Master, / if you came slowly out of the woods. / Would I know your step? / Would I know by my beating heart? / Would I know by your eyes? / Would I feel you on my shoulders, too, the burden you carry? / Would I rise and stand till you drew near / or cover my eyes for shame? / Or would I simply forget everything / except that you had come and were here?” (42-43).

Our Easter task is to watch, to wonder and to wait on the Lord’s coming. More, when the Lord does come, in whatever disguises, we are to respond as Peter would do, by loving as deeply as we can.

In the end, it is a certain type of “affinity” or “conaturality” that lets us say: “It is the Lord.” Logic cannot explain it, but the heart has its own secret knowledge.

Questions for reflection

1. How do you recognize the Lord in your life?

2. What is your response to his visitations?

3. In what sense is Easter a season of watching, wondering and waiting?


Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.

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