Dear faithful readers this weekend is filled with so much in our liturgical cycle it is hard to put it all into one homily. It is a continuing story beginning with that upper room experience and ending with the resurrection story on Easter morning. If you have not read the homilies for Holy Thursday and Good Friday, please click on the menu bar above and select Feast Days Then scroll down and click on B Cycle Holy Thursday 18 and Good Friday 18 before you read this homily. May your Easter be full of the presence of God’s love. Deacon Dave
The disciples are in disarray, the women are confused, bewildered and frightened. The empty tomb is an enigma to everyone that day. What is going on and how to even begin to comprehend it. We know from the gospel stories that when Jesus talked about being raised from the dead they did not grasp what he was revealing to them. Now it has happened and it still does not make sense.
We today, 2000 years later at least intellectually understand the resurrection, but have we fully grasped what God did for us by his death and resurrection. Our lives have been dramatically altered because of his death and resurrection. According to the scriptures we were lost but now we are found. Somehow, I do not believe we feel lost or even found by the fact that Jesus died and rose again. We are after all people of faith, people who believe, people living according to the laws of the Church and society. We are doing fine but here is the question we need to ask ourselves, “are our hearts burning within us.”
I was praying while reading the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and several things struck me about this encounter with Jesus. These two disciples like Mary Magdalene did not recognize him as they walked with him. It took a while and that should give us an indication that we can walk with Jesus without ever realizing he is with us. This to me is an indication of how we need to use more than what we have learned about Jesus to be our only source of our knowledge of him.
Yet at some moment in our faith journey we need to have an encounter with the person of Jesus for that moment to touch our hearts. This does not happen with the intellect guiding our faith but it happens when our hearts are set on fire first. Then everything suddenly becomes alive and real.
There was another thing about this journey we need to consider as key for an encounter with Jesus. It was the scriptures that set their hearts on fire. The Word made flesh opened their minds to something they had read and studied their entire lives – the scriptures. This should make us desire to have that same burning within us by immersing ourselves in the scriptures. We must be reading and praying for the Spirit to enlighten our minds and hearts as we read the scriptures. It is in the scriptures we will discover the love of God and his plan for our lives. How can we ever believe beyond our intellectual acceptance of the truth of Jesus without that moment like Peter had when challenged to give voice to who he believed Jesus to be.
The third thing that we learn from that Emmaus journey is how they came to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. We do profess and believe Christ is present to us in the Eucharist. We have all these wonderful insights about the Eucharist – it is food for our journey; by our taking him into ourselves we are transformed and how it is the source and summit of our faith. Well if we can say those things about the Eucharist then we certainly should respond to the Eucharist with more excitement, a display of awe or even hearts on fire.
Do we feel his sacrifice and look upon his broken body as the one act that set us free to stand in the presence of God? The presence of God among us in word and sacrament should do two things for us each time we gather.
We should have our hearts set on fire because we are discovering the depth of God’s love for us in the scriptures and in the gift of Jesus Christ. This gospel story is not about two disciples who suddenly get it and are excited about what they have had revealed to them.
It is a story in which we should see ourselves. What are we seeking each time we gather and if we are not seeking to know more and more about who we are called to follow then we are missing out on God’s plan for our lives.
The journey from Jerusalem was to get away from the confusion to try to understand the death and absence of the body of Christ. We are also on a journey to discover the meaning and purpose of our lives. That my brothers and sisters is found in the one who announced he is the way the truth and the life.