03 May 2014


3rd Sunday of Easter
Lk 24:13-35 (Acts 2:14, 22-33 / Ps 16 / 1 Pt 1:17-21)

I have a confession to make.  When I was younger, I did not know how to handle problems well.  Not that I am better at it now.  I am still learning my lessons in life and in my ministry.  But when I was younger, I was worse.  I had two forms of escapism: I either sleep through or run away from my problems.  Unfortunately, when I wake up, my problems would be the first ones to greet me anyway.  And no matter how far I flee from my problems they seem to always arrive first where I meant to go.

After almost nineteen years a priest, I learned the hard way that the first step in solving any problem is facing it.  Sleeping through your problems create nightmares.  Running away from them exhausts you until you are cornered and have no other option but face them, hoping that it isn’t too late yet to do so.

The two disciples in the Gospel today did not sleep through their heartache.  They were wide awake.  But they tried running away from the source of their pain: Jerusalem.  And what made it worse was they did so with their eyes wide open.  Thus, though they are not sleeping, they appeared dreaming even as they walk.  Though their eyes were wide open, they failed to recognize Jesus who walked with them, talked to them, and went with them into their home.

Home for these two disciples was Emmaus.  Interestingly though, Bible scholars claim that Emmaus is an unknown place, not even marked in the ancient maps of Israel.  But Jerusalem is a real place, marked in maps even until now.

Their pain was as real as Jerusalem.  They pinned all their hopes on Jesus, expecting that He would be their long-delayed liberator from Roman oppression.  Thus, they followed Him, and when they did so they left behind, if not everything, at least a considerable part of their life and relationships.

Where they really from Emmaus?  We don’t know.  But if they were, following Jesus and becoming His disciples gave new meaning, fresh start, and vibrant hope in their lives.  Going with Jesus to Jerusalem was freedom from the humdrum and hopelessness of their Emmaus.

But now, they would rather go back to Emmaus than stay in Jerusalem.  The city that once was the turning point in their lives now became the reason for them to turn their backs from the community that was formed around the person and message of Jesus.  They were leaving Jerusalem and, with it, their once new-found identity and mission.  It was in Jerusalem where Jesus was tortured, shamed, and murdered.  Jerusalem became the place of their painful regret.  And with the dead body of Jesus missing in Jerusalem, these two disciples saw no other option but to play missing-in-action.  They knew so well that they lost not only Jesus but their faces as well.  How could they face those they left behind when they started following Jesus?  What words could best convey their pain, shame, and regret?

Thus, Jesus gave them the words they needed.  He walked with them and explained the Word of God to them.  He helped them see their situation in the context of God’s Word.

Thus, Jesus gave them the food their tired spirits needed.  He broke bread with them.  Thereupon He was revealed to them.  Though He vanished from their sight, He nonetheless dwelt in their hearts.  Their eyes no longer needed to see Jesus.  Their hearts burnt.

Thus, Jesus gave them the enthusiasm to go back to Jerusalem.  And in Jerusalem, they were met by the community they ran away from.  And there in that community, Jesus would appear to them again.

I believe, I am not unique in my sleeping through and running away from problems.  Whatever your favorite form of escapism is, we all have a way of coping with our troubles, of solving our problems, of healing our aches either the right way or the wrong.  But because we are an Easter People, there is only one right way for us: the path of the Risen Christ.

Walk through your problem, don’t sleep through it.  Walk with your problem, don’t run from it.  Walk though your problem.  Walk with Jesus through it.  We make our own prayer to Jesus, the response to the Psalm today, "Lord, You will show us the path of life."  And believe that the Lord will also fulfill in us the word of David as quoted by the Apostle Peter in the first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles: “You will fill me with joy in Your presence.”

In “the time of your sojourning” that the Apostle Peter mentions in the second reading, walk with Jesus and see your life in the light of God’s Word, the Eucharist, and the Church which is the community of the Lord’s disciples.  Read the Scriptures and know what God’s Word has to say about our crisis.  Go to the Eucharist and experience how Jesus gave Himself up for your freedom and joy.  Return to your community and rediscover Jesus there, for, except the privileged experience of Mary Magdalene, all the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus were to and in the community.

Walk with Jesus and feel your heart burning.  Let your burning heart give the warmth and light needed by those who grope through their sojourn in life.  Having seen and recognize the Risen Christ in our own journey, be another Jesus who walks along with the least, the last, and the lost.  Walk with Jesus.  Walk like Jesus.  Walk for Jesus.  Keep hearts burning for Jesus, of Jesus, and in Jesus.

We are an Easter People and that means we are a Church walking with Jesus.


At 12:25 PM , Blogger Angeli Luz Misa said...

I am so glad of the English version. Thank you Father Bob.

At 12:26 PM , Blogger Angeli Luz Misa said...

I am so glad of the English version. Thank you Father Bob.

At 12:24 AM , Blogger Fr. Bobby said...

Welcome, Angeli. +


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