The title of this post is taken from a reflection I composed for a Way of the Cross based upon a stunning set of paintings found in St. Mary Gate of Heaven Church, the parish where I am presently assigned. The Ninth Station in that series of images has a particularly intense pathos about it in the crisis that the sheer helplessness in the unmoving form of the fallen Jesus evokes in the Roman Centurion whose journey of conversion is a key theme running through all of the paintings. The brutality of the world seizes upon this moment of apparent Divine weakness to assert itself over a Jesus who seems incapable of responding – Jesus does not look back in obvious challenge here and for the violent it is easy to look at the Lord now. Eyes that refused to look at him along the way now find the courage to do so in their contempt and anger. The fact that Jesus does not look back to the eyes of the Centurion, however, causes a crisis of faith as eyes that have followed him this far with so much attentiveness now wonder if there remains anything else to see.
In writing these few sentences, I find myself pausing to wonder about my own gazing at the Lord. In those times when I do not feel a return of my gaze, when he seems not to be looking back at me, what is the nature of my response?
Here is the excerpted video clip: