I have always loved the the Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila, Christ Has No Body. And it is a prayer that has been set to music in a number of adaptations by different artists.
The one we want at Mass this past Sunday was by Steven Warner, and I was struck by the line in one of the verses, “No eyes but yours to see as Christ would see.” My mind immediately added, “And no ears but mine to hear as Christ would hear.”
Two images immediately came to my mind, the images of Christ’s encounters with Zacchaeus and with Bartimaeus.
We hear of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus in Luke’s Gospel. Zacchaeus doesn’t thrust himself in Jesus’ path. Instead, Zacchaeus is up in a sycamore tree trying to catch a glimpse of Jesus from afar. Jesus has to look into the Sycamore tree to see Zacchaeus, so that he can invite him down so they can lunch together.
Blind Bartimaeus, who we learn about in Mark’s Gospel, is on the side of the road, crying out Jesus’ name – something he continually does even as the crowds are trying to quiet him. Jesus hears him from afar; he has to tell his disciples to bring Bartimaeus to him so see what he wants.
To see as Christ would see. To hear as Christ would hear. The invitation there is to do more than gaze with compassion on those who are right in front of our face. To do more than hear those standing beside us. Rather it is to see, as Christ did, those who may be hanging back. To hear, as Christ did, those who call out to us from afar.
We need to have the eyes an ears of Christ.