April 26, 2020
Third Sunday of Easter
Dear Followers of the Christ,
In Luke 24: 13-35, we walk with two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We overhear the frustrations and uncertainty about their experiences from the past few days burying the Master. They cannot believe what has happened. Jesus, the one whom they followed, went to his death and now they hear that he has been raised from the dead. However, Jesus meets with them and their eyes are not yet ready to recognize him.
They retell all the events to the one who they think is a stranger. Then Jesus begins to tell his tale of salvation history. He stays with them, breaking bread and opening up the scriptures. The eyes of the followers were opened and their hearts burned with love. He was present again to them in the breaking of the bread and in the stories of love.
We continue the Easter event on this road to Emmaus in every Mass. The scriptures are broken open to us in our hearing. In every Mass, the Real Presence of Christ is revealed to us in the proclamation of the gospel. The scriptures are fire and love; they are alive and vibrant. The Holy Spirit is embedded in every word. These words of the gospels are not just a text proclaimed by the priest just for kicks. This is not the phone book or an advertising brochure in our inbox.
These are the words from God. These are the words handed down to us from centuries ago imbedded with love, with hope, and healing for all God’s people. These words are not a quick text, not a few words on Instagram. These words are not a knee-jerk reaction within community but come from the storytellers of the past to bring life to everyone. These words rouse hope. These words from the mouth of God fill our pain with healing, our ambiguities with direction, our anxiety with quiet hope. These words bring with them the presence of Jesus who is our way of life, our trust on the perilous journey we call life.
Jesus is revealed to us in the Breaking of the Bread at Mass. This action of the Eucharist is his Real Presence. Our eyes can be just as covered with sleep, inattention, pride, and self-preoccupation as the eyes of the disciples. What reveals our relationship with Jesus Christ within the Eucharist is love. God’s love desires our souls.
I write this knowing that we cannot yet celebrate together the very mystery that sets us free. I invite you to read and reflect on the sacred scriptures, pray with your families, allow your children to tell the stories of family life in this time of isolation by keeping a family journal of events, pictures, feelings and prayers. I invite you to prepare your hearts for the day we shall all be together in love and celebration. We are still a family of prayer even though we are scattered and sequestered in our own homes. I also invite you to pray for the members of each of our three churches and the future of our common life. There is much to witness in the presence of Jesus still among us. Now more than ever, we need to open our eyes and hearts and see him in our midst. Continue to believe and love. Strive to live the message of Easter to proclaim love in all of its forms.
We are called to fall in love with God. Staying united in prayer, even though we are alone, is not just an obligation. We are to make love real. This love is revealed in how we accept people, how we welcome the lost and forgotten, how we expand our hospitality to people who are different from ourselves. Recognizing God in our midst is not just a reward to get to heaven. We are challenged to become a people who believe we are loved by God so then go out into the world to love other people. Our eyes need to focus on such a love.
“Where not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” For what does your heart desire?