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God Shows Up When We Least Expect

The story of Emmaus carries a depth of feeling that resonates with us because we’ve all experienced some level of disappointed hopes and dreams in our lives. Dream jobs turn to daily drudgery. Failed relationships leave us brokenhearted. Illness and injury break our bodies and sometimes our spirits. If we’re in the midst of such a time, Easter alleluias can sound hollow to our ears. And yet, the Word of God can speak a word of hope and promise to our despair. The Bread of Life can fill an emptiness, a hunger, that gnaws at us. Sometimes all we have to do is show up. We have to make that much of an effort. Often we go with no expectations, almost no hope. And God surprises us with the right word, the right thought, a much-needed smile or hug from someone. The message of Easter is that God shows up when we least expect it: a voice in the garden calling our name, a stranger on the road, a tap on the shoulder, breakfast on the beach or dinner after a long day at work. Sometimes the alleluias are quiet, but no less heartfelt for all that.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

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