How did the people of Samaria feel who witnessed the miraculous healings outlined in the Acts of the Apostles? We are told that “there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). I wonder, though, if any of the people who were not healed wondered when it would be their turn to be healed... their turn to encounter the Christ and the Holy Spirit in this miraculous way. Did any of them feel left out? I wonder if they feel the way I do when "miracles" happen to people in my life, breakthroughs that occur when prayers are answered. Although I'm happy for such people, and have had breakthroughs in my life, when my life seems stagnant and breakthrough free, I'm a bit envious of those experiencing breakthroughs and wonder if I pray better or harder, I'll experience Christ in this way.
The gospel reminds me that even when I am not experiencing miracles and breakthroughs, Christ and the Holy Spirit are with me in concrete ways. Jesus promises us that if we keep His commandments, then we will receive the Spirit of Truth, which will be with us forever (John 14:15-17).
Jesus also assures us that we are in Him and He is in us (John 14:20). The contingency of keeping the commandments in order to experience Christ seems intimidating until we remember Christ’s two great commandments are to love God and neighbor. This makes Christ accessible and concrete to everyone, even nonbelievers. A person who does not know God loves God when he/she loves his/her neighbor. According to Dorothy Day, even people who do not know Christ’s name are serving Christ when they serve their neighbors (Ellsberg, Dorothy Day, 6).
What does experiencing Christ through our interactions with our neighbors look like day to day? According to Dorothy Day, Jesus is “disguised and masked” our midst, “hidden among the poor, among the sick, among prisoners, among strangers (Ellsberg, Dorothy Day, 6). She believed that Christ is incarnate in the world in the poor. “…we have seen His hands and His feet in the poor around us. He has shown Himself to us in them (Ellsberg, Dorothy Day, 330).
Thus, in my life, Christ is incarnate in the people I serve in Maryhouse and in my students. Christ is the elderly woman who resides at Maryhouse and frequently gifts me with a treasure from the clothing room she thinks I'll like, such as a pretty scarf. She sometimes slips me a one dollar bill and instructs me to use it for ice cream. St. Peter tells us to “be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…(1 Peter 3:15). This is my reason to hope.