VIEW MASS ONLINE with Fr Nigel: Third Sunday of Easter, 26 April 2020

Fr Nigel’s Homily: It seems like ages since we have been in lockdown.  Some us are getting used it. Some of us want it to be over quickly. I sense that there is a feeling of uneasiness.  This underlying discomfort makes us really uncertain of what to do next. It’s getting harder and harder to have patience.  Some glimmers of hope help us to cope: there are positive stories around us and the jokes and memes are quite good, but then it seems we retreat into our life of unease.

I don’t think it would have been much different for the two disciples on their way to Emmaus.  The events they had witnessed were unlike anything they had seen or heard before.  We hear that they were debating and conversing about all that had occurred. They were possibly debating what to do next. They heard stories of the empty tomb and visions of angels and that Christ was alive, but they were not convinced.  They never fully understood God’s plan.

Jesus journeys with them, yet they are unaware of his presence. He explains to them and asks them if they remembered what he said all along: ‘was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then Jesus begins from the very beginning, speaking of Moses and all the prophets who referred to him in all the scriptures. And finally, the disciples recognized him in the breaking of the bread.

What can we learn from the two disciples?  Inspite of their unease at the events that took place, they stayed together and were not isolated in their conversations because they talked to each other. They reached out to each other so that the journey would be easier. They walked together, which helped them process all that was happening, even though they did not fully understand it. The journey helped them open their eyes to the presence of Jesus in their life which they fully experienced at the breaking of the bread. They moved away from their sole understanding of the risen lord to experiencing his presence.  They did this by being open to reading Scriptures, which Christ explains to them, and in sharing their meal.  When they do experience Christ, they are overjoyed. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

There is a big difference in knowing about God and knowing God. The Gospel today calls us to experience the risen lord in our lives through the Scripture and the breaking of the bread at this point virtually, but we long for the day when we can all be together. And so we too may say ‘were not our hearts burning within us’.