A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE “A” – 4/30/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
When we’ve only met someone once, or maybe even twice, it can be a little difficult to recognize them. We don’t know them that well. We don’t remember every detail of what they looked like. Maybe we don’t remember the sound of their voice. Plus, I don’t know about you guys or not, but sometimes I remember people by the way that they are dressed, by the color shirt they have on, or what kind of jacket someone is wearing, and people have this habit of changing clothes. They most likely are not going to be wearing the same thing that they had on, when you met them, or were introduced to them. So even though we all try, it can be very difficult to recognize everybody that we’ve met before.
This happened to me recently at the post office, when a lady came up to me, and she was smiling, and started talking to me right away. Clearly, I had met her before from somewhere. But I could not recall where. She was talking a mile a minute. Finally, I think she realized that I wasn’t getting it, so she reminded me that I had met her at a wedding that I had here last summer. She was the bride’s aunt. And when she had said that, I did recall meeting her, and her being here for the wedding. So we continued our little visit. And then she said, “Father, I almost didn’t recognize you either without your clothes on.” And after a brief, very awkward moment, where I wondered how many people in the post office had just her say that, I said, “You mean vestments. Not clothes. Vestments!”
Today, in our Gospel, we hear the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. This is one of the most famous of all the resurrection accounts. Jesus appears to these two disciples after His resurrection, in His glorified body, and they don’t recognize Him. He walks along with them. He listen to them. He converses and instructs them. And still they don’t recognize Him. It is only when they go inside, and are seated at table, and He breaks bread with them, that their eyes are opened, and they recognize Who has been with them, the entire time!
This is such a powerful Gospel, because this resurrection text reminds all of us, that even today in 2017, we are called to keep recognizing, to keep seeing, to keep finding Jesus, in every person that we contact with. The newly canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta reminded the entire Church, that all these years later, we are still supposed to recognize Jesus in every disguise, in every person, in every hidden face, that we come in contact with. It is how this amazing saint was able to minister to and to love, the thousands of the poor and dying that she cared for, while she was in this world. If we too want to experience the Risen Jesus in our lives, then we must be willing to hunt for Him, even when He comes disguised in ways that we would never imagine! And the more that we know Him, the more we know about Him, from Scriptures, from the Church, and even from our own experiences, the easier that recognizing is going to be for us! We must expect Jesus in the unexpected people of our lives. And even today, we must recognize Him, and love Him, and care for Him!
I think, that for us as Catholic Christians, we are given a great help to doing this, in the Holy Eucharist! By our Faith, and by the great gift of the Eucharist handed down to us in the Church, we are taught to recognize Jesus hiding in Bread and Wine, every time we go to Mass. This belief is not easy. It wasn’t easy two-thousand years ago, when Jesus talked about giving His Body and Blood to His followers for food, in John, Chapter 6. We know that backed then, many walked away from Jesus. It was too much for them to handle. And we know today, that the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist really is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, still challenges many Christians to belief, in what Jesus promised.
And yet, if we can recognize Jesus hiding in the Eucharist, hiding behind bread and wine, doesn’t that help all of us, to better recognize Him hiding in our brothers and sisters, that we encounter every day? Doesn’t it make it easier for us? Aren’t we more in tune, with the fact, that the Risen Jesus can come to us in many different ways every day! Today, we too recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. And that trains us to recognize Him in many other ways, and in many other situations.
We strive to not only recognize Jesus, but to imitate Him. Wouldn’t it be great, if this week, we too would be willing to walk along with the people that we encounter in our daily lives, especially making the effort to really listen to their stories with patience and gentleness. Think of the good that we might be able to do! Think of how that might help us to get to know them better, and to care for them more! We might be able to help them better understand what Jesus means in their lives. And the most amazing part of that? By doing that for them, with open minds and open hearts, we might we realize that those people that we encounter on the roads of our life, just might be Jesus walking with us, giving us the hope that we need, and leading us closer to Him!
+ May God bless us this week, and help us to recognize Him everywhere, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!