Sunday, April 26, 2020
+ 3rd Sunday of Easter A +
The big shots have won, as usual. Two figures, perhaps married, plod along, walking away from Jerusalem. Their community is in hiding—like ours is in these weeks.
Without Jesus, there is no community. Jesus does now what he has done since Mary said yes to the angel: God visits us in our distress. He comes to find us where we are—walking along in our face masks.
When he had set his face toward Jerusalem and all that would happen, he walked ahead of them. Now he walks beside them.
A little definition to ponder: A disciple is someone who has moved from being the recipient of the Church’s mission to being responsible for the Church’s mission.
They can’t just follow. They must recognize him in their midst. They must find him in the Church only seen on laptops, holed up behind closed doors.
Cleopas and his companion welcome the stranger’s questions. They pour out the sad story and the weird rumor of talking angels.
You are not a disciple if you don’t talk to strangers, if you are not open to those who may be sent into your life with a message.
You are not a disciple if you don’t share your fears, your worries, your dashed hopes with others. We like to be the ones in control, the ones handing out the favors to inferiors.
Jesus listens with sympathy. Then he waves his hand at them with affection like my grandfather used to—Capo d’ost’! You little knuckle heads!
“How foolish you are! How slow to believe all the prophets spoke.” What a great intro for a homily! He explains the scripture. They forget about their bulletins. They don’t pull out their scrolls and read along as he speaks. This is not a Bible study.
They look him in the eye. They pay close attention to the living Word proclaimed right here and now in their midst.
As they near the village, a crucial moment comes. Are we going to invite the stranger in? Am I going to invite him in, to my heart? Stay with us. It is nearly evening. The day is almost over.
Stay with us he does, in the Breaking of the Bread. The One who was crucified, whose body was broken for us, whose blood was poured out for us, is with us now.
When we eat this Bread and Drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come again.
When we recognize him among us, he disappears into us, so that we can allow our lives to be broken and shared to hand on life. Hearts burning within.
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them.
Will I come here to find him? Will I seek him here, in the Church—in all the struggles of community life, in all the dangers, complexities, joys, and failures of witnessing to love in our broken world?
May you and I be responsible for the Church’s mission.
May the way you and I live and love, work and play, may even the way we one day die,witness to that love burning in our hearts, to that love we recognize in the Breaking of the Bread.