HOMILY Thirds Sunday of Easter Cycle A April 26, 2020
Some disciples are on the way to a village called Emmaus. A pair of disciples, on the road.
‘The Road’ is an image of life, as in many Hollywood road pictures. All of us are on a journey, from birth to death. For some it is a short road, for others, like my Dad who thankfully is doing better, it is a long road. For some it is pretty bumpy, with lots of twists and turns, several diversions and back-tracks and blind alleys. And for others it is pretty straight and mostly smooth. But all of us are on the journey of life.
All of us are on our own journey to Emmaus. And as the couple in the Gospel, Cleopas and his companion, maybe his wife, go along, who shows up but Jesus? Of course, they don’t recognize that it is Jesus. They are too absorbed in their own grief, their own bewilderment, their own issues, and so they don’t recognize Jesus.
So also for us, as we go along the path of life, Jesus is often there, on the road with us. But also for us, we often don’t recognize Him, because sometimes we too are to absorbed in our own plans, our own issues, our own worries, and so we don’t recognize Jesus.
In short, this pair of disciples is a lot like us.
Jesus asks a simple question: “What are you discussing as you walk along?” Be careful of those innocent questions Jesus asks, especially when they look simple and innocuous.
“What are youdiscussing as you walk along your path of life?” What preoccupies you in life? What do you concern yourself with? What do you spend your time and energy on? What interests you as you go through life? What are YOU discussing as you walk along?
Brothers and sisters, like this pair of companions on the road to Emmaus, we too, on the journey of life, often don’t get it. We are concerned with the wrong things: with our self-importance. Our comfort, with looking good, with having it all. What are you discussing as you walk along the pathways of life?
Jesus gives them something of a rude awakening: “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe…”
Jesus observes and listens to you on the Journey of Life. What is His reaction to you? For me, I am afraid it would be very similar to Jesus’ reaction to Cleopas and his companion. “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe… Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” //
Right now, a lot of you are having a hard or difficult time. A time with suffering. Maybe suffering sickness in this pandemic. Or economic hardship. Sorrowful over relatives or friends who have fallen sick or died. Fearful what the future brings as the bills mount up and the bank account drains. Suffering from loneliness and isolation, wanting to be with other people, to hug family and friends and loved ones. O what I would give for a good hand-shake right now, much less a hug!
Or suffering from too much closeness to family, cooped up in a small space, getting on each other’s nerves. Or suffering from confusion about what to do? Or just bored silly. //
I believe that Jesus is on the road with us. Jesus certainly understands suffering much more deeply than we do. He has been there. Not just physical pain, but bitter betrayal by his followers and friends, rejection by His own people, and worst, the sense of abandonment by God.
But,,, Jesus came through all that, and entered into His glory. We celebrated that just two weeks ago on Easter. Jesus is Risen! Alleluia!
Now Jesus walks along with us. To instruct us. To reassure us. To comfort us. To challenge us, so that we may not be foolish.
Life is not about popularity, nor bank accounts, nor the kind of car you drive. Life is about relationship, and especially relationship with Jesus. He walks along with us in Life. He challenges us, but we can rely on Him.
The two disciples came to recognize Jesus in the breakingof the bread, an early name for the Eucharist. Breaking. Jesus was broken for us. But in being broken, He was thereby opened to receive the glory the Father yearned to give Him. As we heard in the preaching of St Peter in the first reading today, “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father.” Jesus taught us that we too need to be broken open for others, and so be open to receive His love and life. Happy Easter! Alleluia