accompaniment

BY KIM COLEMAN | April 27, 2020
Today’s Readings

“Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.”

I’ve been at a loss for words in prayer lately. I feel like Cleopas when he was talking to Jesus on the road to Emmaus: “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days!?” (While the exclamation point wasn’t in the text, his exasperation was palpable.) 

Like many, I have wondered where God is in all of this.

When I worked at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, I loved illustrating one of JRS’ core missions—accompaniment. It comes from panis, the Latin word for bread. First, I would toss a loaf of bread out to the audience. Then, I would take that loaf and invite someone in the audience to break bread with me. While the first example addressed hunger, the second took the response further by inviting people into relationship. Our God is not a God of transactions, but accompaniment.

accompaniment

And so, I think I’ll try something new this week and will spend some time with God “conversing about all the things that had occurred.” I will actively find God in the simple, beautiful moments that have been bringing me to tears lately. I will actively find God, angry and mourning beside me as this disease ravages communities, particularly communities of color. 

Perhaps most of all, I will actively find God in the burning of my heart as the inequality in our country and world continues to be uncovered. A recent New York Times article noted that, “Crises like pandemics, economic collapses and world wars have, at times throughout history, ended up reordering societies—shrinking the gap between the rich and the poor, or empowering the working class.”  But the article specified that in order for things to change, it will require enough people to rise up and demand working conditions that respect human dignity. 

While we may be hunkering down, now more than ever, it is time to rise up with God walking by our side along the way.

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Nice reflection. It’s serious stuff. Thanks a lot Kim. Nature has its own way of doing things. Tiny mortal human beings with or without titles, are invited to humbly cooperate with the mighty Nature, the teacher of teachers, and the leader of leaders.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Lanny Nanagas says:

    There are many perspectives and “teaching moments” on this Gospel passage on the Road to Emmaus and for me, at the moment, the most important aspect is that the Lord CHOSE to be with th the two disciples, just as He chooses to be with us in this pandemic… Don’t just look at the things we have “temporarily lost” but pay attention also to all the beautiful things that are happening…. People helping each other, families getting together, the environment is getting a breather, and everyone seems to be looking for God…. and many are indeed finding Him, each to his own generosity….

    Yes, as they say in the Eucharist, ” The Lord is with you “… Indeed He IS with us… We just nee to be aware…..

    Thanks

    Lanny

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Cathe says:

    I LOVE the insight of accompaniment, especially of Jesus as our companion. Thank you for bringing that insight to life! After dreary rainy, cold days, this touched my heart that indeed, we are not alone! Just as real as Jesus walking with the disciples to Emmaus, Jesus is alive and with us during this pandemic!
    Thank you so much for posting this!

    Reply

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