Mary and Joseph encountered many surprises the night their newborn son arrived. But what was it like when the eyes of Jesus first opened on them? How must that have felt?

How would we respond if Jesus looked at us today? Would we avert our eyes like the rich man in Matthew who turned away sadly? Would we close them entirely as Judas did? Or like Peter, would we struggle to maintain eye contact, however hard it was to do at first?

Anne Lamott wrote, “The love of our incredible dogs and cats may be the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God.”  Imagine the eyes of a beloved pet— infant, sibling, grandparent— and try—in a Jesuit affirmation I love— to Behold God, beholding you, and smiling.”  

When Christ looks at us he teaches us how we might look at one another!

—Joe Kraemer, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the California province, is studying philosophy at Fordham University.