By Adam Penna

1.
When Jesus proved death was impossible,
we had to leave our families and our friends behind.
Before he rose, quitting the world took courage,
but now only a fool would say no to him,
having been invited to join. And who chooses to be a fool?
Let my wife and her parents say what they want.
Let them gnash their teeth and fill their mouths with curses.
Let her brothers chase me from village to village, if they dare.
It will be their job now to recognize me dressed in my new life.
My own mother might pass me in the street
and keep walking. This is how changed I am inside.

2.
Oh, I guess I would need more proof than that.
I’d want to touch his wounds and prod around a little, too.
And walking beside him, afterward, going a long way
and talking holy talk, I’d miss that he was He.
And if it did occur to me at all, wouldn’t I, too, attempt—
thinking that anything is possible now—
to cross the distance between the bow of my boat
and the beach on foot? And think about the men,
casting their nets into the sea, and seeing me,
how crazy I would look to them. I note their faces.
I feel their hands. They think they can save me from drowning
and pull me back into the boat. But I left the world for good,
when I took the first step. How could I know it would be the easiest?
And every kick after that, a gesture wasted on the sea.

3.
We have been traveling the road to Emmaus
and, like the two nameless disciples, been unaware.
The stranger who has loved us with his talking
the whole way, we loved first. We couldn’t say who,
until he broke the bread and said the prayer.
He disappeared, this time for good.
Someday you’ll understand. Your hands,
without your knowing why, will rise to touch your face,
as if to ask: Is this what I am?
Run to tell the new disciples. They have been waiting to hear.
No one will believe how blind he was before,
or how strange it feels finally to see.

One Response to “What it Means to Be a Disciple”


  1. […] of Faith,” “Joseph on His Deathbed,” “Breaking the Sabbath,” “What it Means to Be a Disciple,” and “A Corinthian Responds to Paul.” Rate this: Share […]


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