ColumnsNaming Grace

For they had hoped

“What’s wrong, Mare?” She knew immediately I was down. Though she couldn’t see my face because of the protective mask, she noticed the pace of my steps, my posture and the slight slant of my head. “Well, I just can’t shake my disappointment with the postponement of our family event, and today is the twins’ birthday and we can’t celebrate with them. I know it’s all minor compared to what others are experiencing, but I had hoped.” As we walked, she listened intently and then spoke quietly, “I’m sorry.”

This Sunday’s Gospel recounts Cleopas and another disciple walking away from Jerusalem, “downcast,” for they had hoped Jesus was the one. We can picture these two, plodding along, shoulders slumped, heads lowered, sadness overwhelming their bodies. Oh, how they had hoped in Jesus. They had left their homes and livelihood to follow Jesus, certain he would light the world on fire. Those were exciting times. Yet it had come to a frightful and brutal end. It was unbearable. Walking away, their downcast hearts fogged their memories, confused their thoughts and dashed their dreams. Then, cloaked as a stranger, Jesus walks beside them: “What are you discussing along the way?” And then, Jesus listens to all of their hopes and heartaches.

Jesus finally responds, “How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!” And then, the disciples remember and recall Jesus’ “mighty wonders, signs and deeds.” They stand a little straighter and raise their heads a little higher. And not only that, “Some women from our group … reported they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced he was alive.” Yes, hadn’t the prophets foretold this? And King David foreseen? They sense the fog lifting and confusion clearing. Hope sparks. “Please stay with us.” And then, in the breaking of the bread, “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” The disciples turn and walk, no, they rush back to Jerusalem as their hearts are burning within them! He is their hope!

As parents/grandparents, we walk with our children, leading them to know and love Jesus Christ. We help our children’s hearts to burn brightly by teaching them to listen to the voice of God in Scripture and prayer. We name grace — Jesus’ presence — as we interpret the Scriptures, with Jesus, our Savior, as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets. We tell them of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, as the one who always walks with them — keeping them safe.

By the time my friend and I finished our walk, my spirit had lifted. As we talked, we realized it has always been “Jesus himself” walking with us. Every single walk — no matter what — the Scriptures come alive and Jesus brings peace and joy, even laughter. With the postponement, we now have something to look forward to; with our granddaughters’ birthday, we sang “Happy Birthday” from the car. God always makes a way!

As Christians, we trust Jesus to walk with us at all times, especially during discouragement, disappointment and darkness. Jesus is listening and lifting our eyes upward. And now, we turn our hope to receiving Jesus, his body and blood, when we can once again come to the ­table where “He [is] made known to [us] in the breaking of bread.” Alleluia! Alleluia! Jesus is the one we had hoped for! Now, that’s good news!

How will you break open the Scriptures for your children?

Where do you find hope today?

Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To contact Mary: www.mary