I do a lot of walking these days. I walk with my dog every morning, rain or shine, because it’s my one and only chance to leave the house during quarantine. I breathe the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature—and I talk to the Lord.
Most of the time, I tell him how beautiful his creation is and thank him for all he has done for me. I listen to Christian music or a Scripture app and try to open my heart to God. And I pray for other people.
Sometimes I grumble. I tell him about things that are bothering me: a disagreement I had or concerns about my kids. Ordinary things, real things—things that I need to sort out. But I don’t think he minds listening!
That’s because somehow, Jesus softens my heart during my walks. He brings me back to what I know is true: he is with me, he is good, and he is working, even in all these situations. I almost always return home more peaceful, more hopeful, more ready to love. Walking with Jesus lifts me up.
On the Road to Emmaus
At Mass a few Sundays ago, we heard the story of the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus. It seems that Jesus lifted them up while they were walking too!
Luke tells us that they were headed away from Jerusalem and the other disciples. They were conversing and debating—perhaps over what had happened to Jesus. Cleopas and his companion seem to have lost hope. And Jesus “drew near and walked with them” (24:15).
Jesus came, uninvited and unrecognized, into their tension and their doubt. He listened to their concerns, and then, patiently, he helped them to understand. He restored their hope, rekindled their faith, and opened their eyes.
Jesus Enters Our Lives
That is what Jesus does for us: he enters our ordinary lives. He meets us in our confusion and disappointment, in our hope and joy. He walks with us—even when we don’t know he is there.
Today he asks us, “What’s on your mind?” Not because he doesn’t know, but because he does. We are the ones who need to acknowledge our concerns and questions, and then we can truly bring them to God.
Like those disciples, I often say to the Lord, “Don’t you know what’s going on?” In these challenging days, it’s easy to forget how close Jesus is. It’s easy to not recognize him, walking beside us in the ordinary. And it’s easy to doubt his loving care.
But seen or not, Jesus is there. And fortunately, it’s easy for God to open our eyes and restore our hope. It’s what he loves to do for his sons and daughters.
Just as he opened the Scriptures to the two disciples, Jesus can bring Scripture alive to us when we reflect on the Mass readings each day. Just as they felt their faith bubbling up again, Jesus can make our hearts burn with an awareness that he is near—and that he won’t leave us. And, just as Jesus made himself known to them in the breaking of the bread, he can reveal himself to us in the Eucharist—even as we watch Mass online.
My walking companion has four legs, but I have found a friend who is closer than a brother. He walks beside me no matter where I go—when I sit and when I stand (Psalm 139:2).
So let’s take a walk with Jesus today. Our Savior stays beside us, always. He will share our joys and our sorrows—and walk us all the way home, to his Father’s side.