Marriage is an interesting phenomenon. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a sure fire way to ensure that every marriage succeeded? Why do so many fail? Why do many of those that endure do so with less than "happy" results? After nearly 31 years of marriage to my wonderful bride, Maria, I am convinced that one very important factor is continually necessary for a successful marriage. It is to have proper expectations. I believe this can best be summed up with this quote:
Marriage is not about finding the right person as much as it is becoming the right person!
Having proper expectations about who someone is is critically important to how well the relationship functions. Improper expectations can cause significant disillusionment and even pain between people. This week's Gospel provides just such an example:
That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus' disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?" And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see." And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?" So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
The Emmaus road travelers are met by a "stranger" who quizzes them about their discussion. They are surprised that this stranger is apparently unaware of the most recent events. This stranger, Jesus, asks for their explanation of these events. In the midst of their explanation they share their expectations about Jesus with Him. "But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel..." Their expectations frame their way of seeing and understanding everything that has happened. Then Jesus helps to reframe their expectations by explaining everything from GOD's perspective. That changed perspective allows them to truly encounter Jesus as He breaks bread.
From that initial encounter with Jesus our expectations must change. Just as married couples must grow in their relationship with one another we must do so in our relationship with Jesus. The really cool thing about having a relationship with Jesus is that He is "The Right Person!" Perhaps even more cool is that you and I can expect to become the right person as our relationship with Him grows.