3rd Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14, 22-33    1 Pt 1:17-21,          Lk 24:13-35

“I’ve got some good news and some bad news to tell you. Which would you like to hear first?” the farmer asked. “Why don’t you tell me the bad news first?” the banker replied. “Okay,” said the farmer, “With the bad drought and inflation and all, I won’t be able to pay anything on my mortgage this year, either on the principal or the interest.” “Well, that is pretty bad,” said the banker. “It gets worse,” said the farmer. “I also won’t be able to pay anything on the loan for all that machinery I bought, not on the principal or interest.” “Wow, is that ever bad!” the banker admitted. “It’s worse than that,” the farmer continued. “You remember I also borrowed to buy seed and fertilizer and other supplies. Well, I can’t pay anything on that, either principal or interest.” “That’s awful,” said the banker, “and that’s enough! What’s the good news?” “The good news,” replied the farmer with a smile, “is that I intend to keep on doing business with you. “I don’t know if that was good news for the banker or not.

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on the road that leads to Emmaus. They were as low as that farmer because their Master had been crucified like a common thief. But now they have heard reports that their Master was not dead at all. Reliable sources have told them that He appeared to some of their most trusted friends. Was he really alive? The disciples were troubled and afraid. Should they believe the good news or the bad?  And that’s our dilemma, isn’t it? DO WE BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS OR THE BAD? The good news is that Christ is alive. The bad news is how little impact that event is having in the world today.

Our Scripture lessons for today have one common, encouraging theme: No matter what happens in our lives, the Risen Jesus is always with us.  God is near to those who seek Him and who want to live in His presence doing His will.  The Emmaus incident is the story of a God who will not leave us alone when we are hurt and disappointed.

Jesus meets us on our Emmaus Road: The risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmaus in the ordinary experiences of our lives and in the places to which we retreat when life is too much for us.  We, too, have hopes and dreams about better health, healing, financial security and family relationships.  These dreams often get shattered.  The story promises us, however, that the Risen Lord will come to us in unfamiliar guises to support and strengthen us when we least expect him.  Emmaus moments come to us when we meet the Risen Christ on our life’s journey through rough times.

The road to Emmaus is a road of companionship: Jesus, now freed from the space-time limits of his earthly life, is present in our midst and wants to be our Friend.  The Risen Lord desires that we walk with Him and with one another. “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).

Find Jesus in the breaking of the bread:  In the Gospel story for today, we learn that we find Christ is in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  When we kneel at the altar to receive the Sacrament, we see and receive Christ.  In John 6, Jesus says, “Whoever eats My Body and drinks My Blood shall live with me eternally.”  The Eucharist is true “soul food,” the Bread of life for eternity.  It feeds us and fulfills our spiritual needs.  It is a pity that often we don’t realize what is happening during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the sacred banquet of all believers.  In this meal, we are in communion not only with Jesus, but also with our family and friends who have preceded us in death.  The Eucharist is not simply Bread and Wine for today, but a banquet for all eternity.

(Because of Bishop’s Annual Appeal this weekend, a summary of this homily will be given.)