April 26, 2020 ~ 3rd Sunday of Easter
Fr. Pat Homily
I think all of us know grief and loss in our lives. We’ve all lost someone who was dear to us, a family member or a friend, or maybe we have the grief that comes along with a failed marriage that we never foresaw coming. Things happen in our lives that bring us profound grief, a sense of loss, of anxiety, or depression. During this pandemic, we have felt all kinds of emotions, especially of sadness and restlessness. It seems that our whole world has been turned upside down in some ways. And yet we have faith.
These two disciples who leaving Jerusalem for Emmaus were feeling incredible grief and sadness, loss and confusion. They are abandoning the mission because they know that Jesus is dead. And yet Jesus catches up with them. They don’t recognize him. Almost no one recognizes the resurrected Jesus. But he walks with them and he explains the scriptures that refer to him and his death. And they say later, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us as he opened the scriptures to us?”
Jesus is celebrating Mass with them, because the first part of Mass is what we are doing right now: hearing from the scriptures that interpret all the events of our lives and of our world and show us God’s plan. And that love conquers because Christ rose! And then they sit down at a table at the end of their journey, and Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them. Then their eyes are opened. That’s what he did at the Last Supper! That is what he does here every time we gather in this church. Christ is present.
Brothers and sisters, our lives at times do seem confused. We can feel down and we can feel anxious. We can feel that our minds are racing with all kinds of negative thoughts that we can’t control. When I hear the readings at Mass, or when I read the Psalms that I love, I pay attention to what phrase or what words speak to me; to how the Holy Spirit is trying to give me the same light he gave the disciples, to help me make sense of my life. I believe that Christ wants to enlighten me and enlighten you. To give us that peace of mind and heart that the world cannot give. To understand our lives through the lens of God, of Christ himself.
And so Christ can speak to us in a lot of ways. Sometimes through great novels. Fr. Michael and I love “The Lord of the Rings.” I have read it through a few times. You see the goodness underneath the human struggle through its mythology. Some people find Christ in conversation with people who have faith. They pour out their hearts and suddenly find light, and realize that everything is okay because Christ is with us.
A good friend of mine had a conversion experience listening to a religious podcast. It helped her realize all the negative thoughts that had held her down were lies. She was enlightened.
We realize through all the events of our lives, especially the difficult ones, that Christ is walking with us, in a silent but powerful way. And he’s interpreting the events of our lives through the light of his resurrection.
We find that at certain moments, maybe when looking at the stars at night, being in nature, even looking into the eyes of our dog that we love, that there is goodness underneath it all. And that love is always with us in Christ.
So today we do the second part of the Mass, that is, we take the bread, we bless it, break it, and give it. God wants to fill that hunger that we have within us that nothing can satisfy. In fact, even sexual desire is an expression of what we most long for: communion, intimacy, connection, oneness, feeling loved by another. That is what God desires, too. In a sense, if it’s not too bold to say, God makes love to his people through the Eucharist, because he enters us in our hearts and becomes one with us. He fills us and we feel at peace. That moment of Communion in the Eucharist. The mystics use sexual imagery to describe the power of Christ in the Eucharist.
Ultimately, Christ wants us to see that everything about our lives that is hard is also going to be resurrected. Resurrection is a daily event, not just something that happens at the end. And just as Christ transforms death into life, and transforms bread and wine, so we, too, are transformed.
So I’m going to give you a little game. Because those two men who were fleeing Jerusalem actually became disciples again. And you are the disciples of today. And what is the game? To recognize Christ in every human being that you encounter, beginning at home. And I know that your family has been driving you a little crazy right now. Start at home! See Christ in everyone there, even Christ on a bad day. See Christ in the immigrants, in someone who doesn’t speak our language, in the homeless who have thrown up makeshift tents by the side of the road or under bridges. Christ even in the person who cuts me off in traffic. Christ in my boss, Christ in people who work for me.
There is a wonderful woodcut by Fritz Eisenbach did in the 1960s. It is called, “Christ of the Breadlines,” where Christ is the middle of homeless men and he’s waiting for a meal. That’s when we realize where Christ is most present: in the poor.
So I’m going to leave you with one quote of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis that helps us realize that Christ, although he can seem distant and a stranger, is always walking with us.
“So it was You all along…Everyone I ever loved—it was You. Everything decent or fine that ever happened to me…everything that ever made me reach out and try to be better…It was You all along.”
Fr. Pat Neary, C.S.C.
April 26, 2020
April 12, 2020
June 12, 2019
June 2, 2019
May 19, 2019 Fr. Chris
May 5, 2019
April 14, 2019
April 7, 2019
March 31, 2019
March 24, 2019 Fr. Pat
March 24, 2019 Fr. Chris
March 17, 2019
March 10, 2019
March 3, 2019
February 24, 2019
February 17, 2019
February 9, 2019
February 3, 2019
January 27, 2019
January 20, 2019