Easter 3 April 26, 2020 Homily (Fr. Jim)
Emmaus … the journey and the choice between despair and hope …
With the death of Jesus their world collapsed. Walking away from Jerusalem they were also walking away from their dreams. They were going back into darkness, they were returning to their old lives, it seemed nothing had changed and things appeared pretty dark for them; as they told the stranger who has joined them, "It is nearly evening and the day is almost over;" it wasn’t just talk about the time of the day.
How often before has the world has been gay and happy, with life going on, hopes and dreams being planted … and then … collapse and we run into the darkness: Noah closing the door of the Ark, the Stock Market crash of the 30’s, Pearl Harbor, Apollo 13, 9/11, Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, COVID-19 … We too have walked the road to Emmaus; for the road to Emmaus is a road of fallen dreams and expectations.
Jesus, at Emmaus is the Guest that becomes the Host, in more ways than one, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it, shared it, commanded that they eat it … with that their eyes were opened and they recognized him. More importantly, they immediately got up and ran back to Jerusalem, to that upper room, arriving breathlessly in all probability, to share their experience with the others.
Think for a moment- they leave the place of death, head into the darkness, in that darkness return to the place of death with a message of hope; the place of the rising Son (sun) the east(er) Resurrection.
Perhaps for many of us, at this point of our confinement we are frustrated, annoyed, have had it … and we’re being told maybe another month before the NY Pause is lifted to a Proceed Slowly and we want to run. To where? For what? To what? The lesson of Emmaus is that without Christ, we tend towards darkness, to the setting sun, we meander roads to hoped-for destinies of security and comfort, in the face of fear- we seek safety … but with Christ, we venture to the place of God’s presence, to the upper rooms of our communities, where we share with others; to the battlefields of war, poverty, injustice, disaster, COVID-19 … our present day Calvary’s / Jerusalem’s … where we remember the stories of salvation history, recently told at the Easter Vigil and we re-discover purpose and direction, meaningful growth and fulfillment of spirit, coming into the fullness of the image and likeness of God.
And, as in Luke’s account, the two disciples were feeling bereft at the loss of Jesus until they recognized him through the breaking of the bread, when they realized he was still with them. That’s true today. Jesus has not abandoned us. He’s present in his living Body to help us cope with all our hardships. May this time of separation from receiving the Eucharist increase our love of the sacrament and the communities in which we receive it. May we remember that this Body knows no borders and that at the end of every Eucharistic celebration we are admonished to “go forth to love and serve the world and one another.”
In discussion with Fr Fitz, we would like to extend and offer to you, that if you so desire, we will offer you some consecrated hosts to take home, so that the Lord’s presence may Bless your home and family with his peace and presence and as you watch Mass on TV, when communion time comes you can partake in the eating of the Lord’s Body and Blood, food to strengthen us in mind, body and spirit for the journey still ahead of us, until we can break bread together at the table of the Lord.
You can shed tears because they are gone,
Or you can smile because they lived.
You can close your eyes and pray they will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that they left for you.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see them.
Or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday,
You can cry and close your mind and feel empty,
Or you can do what they would want …
Take, Bless, Break, Give, Eat ... and go on.