Easter III [A] (April 26) 1-page summary of an 8-minutes homily
Introduction: 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 always near to those who seek Him and who want to live in His presence, doing His will. (+ one anecdote as homily starter)
Scripture lessons summarized: The first reading, from Acts, is taken from the beginning of Peter’s first public proclamation about Jesus and tells us how God raised Jesus from death, thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies about the promised descendant of David. The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 16), has us singing, “Lord, you will show us the path of Life.” In the second reading, Peter exhorts the early Christians to place their Faith and Hope in God Who has saved them through the precious Blood of His Son and Who has raised Jesus from the dead. The Emmaus incident described in today’s Gospel shows us a God who will not abandon us when we are hurt and disappointed. The message of today’s Scripture readings is that the followers of Jesus are to maintain contact with their Risen Lord through prayer, the Eucharist, and the Bible. The readings also remind us that our belief in Jesus’ presence in the consecrated Bread and Wine should help us to understand better his presence in the Bible and in the believing and worshipping community. Putting the two appearances (to the Emmaus disciples and to Peter), together, it is clear that the risen Jesus wanted Peter to act as spokesman for him, and that the faithful who seek to follow Jesus should seek his company in prayer, the Eucharist, and the Bible under the direction of Peter and his successors.
Life messages: 1) Jesus meets us on our Emmaus Road. The risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmaus, both 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 better family relationships. These often shatter. The story promises us, however, that Jesus will come to us in unfamiliar guises to support and strengthen us when we least expect the risen Lord. Emmaus moments come to us when we meet the risen Christ on our life’s journey through rough times.
2) We meet Jesus on a daily basis in our life’s journey. The Church instructs us to hear Jesus on a daily basis through prayer, through the faithful reading of, and meditation on, the Bible, through our experience Jesus as we participate in the Eucharistic celebration, where the risen Lord gives us Himself as our spiritual Food and Drink, through our personal and family prayers, and through our family meals. When we meet Jesus in the Eucharist and through the Word of God, we commune with him in prayer, and thus renew our relationship of mutual loving service. These meetings, then, enable us to encounter the risen Jesus living in all the people we meet and, in them, to offer our Lord humble, loving, selfless service.
3) Do our hearts burn when we listen to the risen Lord in the Bible? Christ comes to us most clearly in the Word. Vatican II (Dei Verbum 21) tells us that Jesus is to be equally venerated in the Eucharist and in the Bible. Therefore, we need to study the Bible, learn the Bible, pray with the Bible, memorize the Bible, meditate on the word of God with burning zeal, and practice what the Bible teaches.
EASTER III [A] (April 26) Acts 2:14, 22-33 1 Pt 1:17-21, Lk 24:13-35
Homily starter anecdote: #1: “I give him a shave every morning.” Len Sweet (https://timeforthought.co.uk/tag/karl-barth/) tells this story about Karl Barth, the famous Swiss theologian. It may be a true story or an evangelized version. Karl Barth was riding a streetcar in his home city of Basel, Switzerland. He took a seat next to a tourist, and the two men started chatting with one another. “Are you new to the city?” Barth inquired. “Yes,” said the tourist.” “Is there anything you would particularly like to see in the city?” asked Barth. “Yes,” said the tourist, “I would like to meet the famous Swiss theologian, Karl Barth,” was the reply. “Do you know him, asked the tourist?” Barth answered, “As a matter of fact, I do know him. I give him a shave every morning“The tourist got off the streetcar at the next stop, quite delighted with himself. He went back to his hotel and told everyone, “I met Karl Barth’s barber today!” Len Sweet tells the story to make the point that we, like the disciples who were on the way to Emmaus, often fail to recognize Jesus when he is among us. It’s about recognition (or the lack of it). We meet people who know him, who love him and revel in his grace. We read their books and listen to their podcasts. Sometimes we even get to meet them. We are content to say, ‘I met your evangelical superhero here today.’ The crazy irony is the missed opportunity for meeting Jesus living with us and within us. Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 2: Bad news and good news: “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.” [John C. Maxwell, “Developing the Leaders Around You” (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers), p. 71.] 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 is not dead at all. Reliable sources have told them that He has appeared to some of their most trusted friends. Is he really alive? The disciples are 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. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 3: Broken dreams: Dr. J. Wallace Hamilton, in his book Horns and Halos in Human Nature, tells of one of the weirdest auctions in history. It was held in the city of Washington, D.C. It was an auction of designs, actually patent models of old inventions that did not make it in the marketplace. These 150,000 old inventions were declared obsolete and placed on the auction block for public auction. Prospective buyers and on-lookers chuckled as item after item was put up for bid, such as a bed-bug buster or an illuminated cat that was designed to scare away mice. Then there was a device to prevent snoring. It consisted of a trumpet that reached from the mouth to the ear and was designed to awaken the snorer and not the neighbors. One person designed a tube to reach from his mouth to his feet so that his breath would keep his feet warm as he slept. There was an adjustable pulpit which could be raised or lowered. You could hit a button and make the pulpit descend or ascend to illustrate a point dramatically. Obviously, at one time somebody had high hopes for each of those designs which did not make it. Some died in poverty, having spent all of their money trying to sell their dream. They represented a mountain of disappointments. One hundred fifty thousand broken dreams! Is there anything sadder? Today’s Gospel describes the shattered dreams of two of Jesus’ disciples at the tragic and unexpected death of their Master whom they trusted as their promised Messiah. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Introduction: 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 abandon us when we are hurt and disappointed. As Francis Thompson put it, He is The Hound of Heaven Who relentlessly follows us when we try to escape from His love. The message of today’s Scripture readings is that the followers of Jesus are to maintain contact with their risen Lord through prayer, the Eucharist, and the Bible. The readings also remind us that our belief in Jesus’ presence in the consecrated Bread and Wine should help us to understand better his presence in the Bible and in the believing and worshipping community. Putting the two appearances (to the Emmaus disciples and to Peter), together, it is clear that the risen Jesus wants Peter to act as spokesman for him and that the faithful who seek to follow Jesus should seek his company in the Eucharist, in prayer, and in the Bible under the direction of Peter and his successors.
The first reading (Acts 2:14, 22-33) explained: Today we hear the beginning of Peter’s first public proclamation about Jesus, telling the gathered people about and how God raised Jesus from death, thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies about the promised descendant of David. The reading is taken from the first and the longest of Peter’s five discourses preserved in the Acts of the Apostles. During his speech, Peter refers to Israel’s beloved King David, quoting Psalm 16 (ascribed to David), and asserts that David, “foresaw and spoke of the Resurrection of the Christ.” Today’s reading tries to describe a time before the earliest Christians realized that God was calling them to embrace all people. At this stage, they acted as though they were only the first few Jews to have caught on to the Messianic identity of Jesus, and their goal was only to convince other Jews of what they had realized.
The second reading (1 Peter 1:17-21) explained: Peter exhorts the early Church, made up of Hebrew and pagan converts, to place their Faith and Hope in God Who has saved them through the precious Blood of His Son and Who has raised Jesus from the dead. Peter repeats the assertion made in Acts, that Jesus’ death and Resurrection was part of God’s plan from all eternity. Hence, Jesus’ sufferings and subsequent glorification by God should serve to center the Christian’s Faith and Hope in God Who has accepted those sufferings as an act of Redemption for all mankind. From this reassuring truth, Christians should sense God’s providence, both in their own current situations and in the whole of their lives, and they should understand the place of their present struggles in a wider context. The root of our Faith must be the Resurrection of Jesus, and Peter argues that it is essential for everyone in the Christian community to experience the risen Jesus alive and present in everyday life.
Gospel exegesis: Luke’s Emmaus Gospel is a beautiful, theological dramatization of one of the encounters of the disciples with their risen Lord during those wonder-filled days after the discovery of the empty tomb (Mk 16:12-13). It is the story of how on Easter Sunday two disciples of Jesus, discouraged and devastated, set out on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus — a distance of about seven miles — and were overtaken by a stranger going along the same road. They began to speak to him about all that had occurred in the Holy City during the previous week. Most probably, Cleopas and his companion were husband and wife, residents of Emmaus and disciples of Jesus who had witnessed His crucifixion and burial.
Cleophas and companion: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.”(John 19:25). From the Gospels we also learn that this wife of Clophas/Cleophas was also the mother of James the Less and Joses, and that she had been a follower, as well as a helper, of Jesus and his immediate disciples (Mark 15:40, 41: cf. Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10). Mark 16:1 tells us that “Mary the mother of James brought spices to prepare the body of Jesus.” Then, in Luke 24:10 “The women [who went to the tomb, and to whom Jesus appeared] were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James.” This may explain why, after his appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden early in the morning (and not counting an unrecorded appearance to Peter), Jesus was next seen by Cleopas and his wife, Mary—- and this before he appeared to any of the “regular” disciples. These two disciples chose to leave Jerusalem on the afternoon of the third day after the death of Jesus – the very day they had received news that the tomb was empty. They were “prevented” from recognizing the Stranger, Jesus, perhaps partly by preoccupation with their own disappointment and problems. As they journeyed on, Jesus showed them how the Scriptures had foretold all that he had done and suffered, including his death and its purpose. His coming to them and walking alongside of them illustrates the truth that the road to Emmaus is a road of companionship with Jesus who desires to walk with each of us. “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). The incident further illustrates that Jesus is with us even when we do not recognize him.
Encounters with God: The Old Testament describes how the Chosen People encountered God in unexpected ways. Gen 18:1-15 describes how Abraham, at Mamre, entertained three “angels” (interpreted as a first hint that God is TriUne) unaware. Running from his troubles, Jacob laid his head on a stone while he slept and saw a stairway to Heaven. He is presented as wrestling all night with a manifestation of God in the flesh. Moses turned aside from his flock of sheep to see why a bush would burn and not be consumed and heard the Voice of God from it. Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up in the Temple. Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and Jesus got Saul’s attention by knocking him to the ground and striking him blind. God’s Self-disclosure to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus was unexpected, but in a radically different way from the encounters mentioned above.
Invitation accepted: The Jewish custom required that Cleopas and his companion invite Jesus to dinner. Hence, they invited Jesus for a night’s rest in their house–and Jesus accepted the invitation. During the meal, when Jesus broke the bread and gave it to them, the disciples realized that this stranger was Jesus, the risen Christ, and Jesus immediately vanished. Later they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us when he opened up the Scriptures to us?” Since they could not keep the Good News to themselves, the Emmaus disciples walked back seven miles to Jerusalem to share their story with the other disciples. The Fathers of the Church note how well the details of this Emmaus episode match our process of coming to Faith in Jesus Christ. First, there are questions and a search for answers. Then comes a moment of discovery when our eyes are opened and our hearts within begin to burn with longing. Finally, there is the desire to tell the story to all who will listen.
Liturgical setting: Luke’s Gospel, written toward the end of the first century, was mainly meant for Christians who had not witnessed Christ in the flesh. Luke tells us that we can meet and experience the risen Lord through the reading and interpretation of Scripture (v. 27), and the “Breaking of the Bread,” as the Lord’s Supper (vv. 30-31) was known then. The story of the encounter on the Emmaus Road is presented in a liturgical fashion using liturgical language such as the commentary: “he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (v 30); “the Lord has risen indeed” (v. 34). Thus, the risen Christ is revealed through the telling of the story, the interpretation of Scripture, and the Breaking of the Bread. Jesus began revealing himself through the Scriptures (vv. 25-27) and completed the revelation through the Eucharist (vv. 30-31). This means that Christ still reveals himself to us through Word and Sacrament. The word “companion” derives from two Latin words, “cum” meaning “together with,” and “panis” which means “bread,” implying that companionship is the result especially of eating together, breaking bread together, something which is at the heart of the Eucharist.
Lessons from Emmaus: Luke’s Emmaus story teaches us that (1) Jesus’ death and Resurrection fit God’s purpose as revealed in the Scriptures; (2) the risen Jesus is present in the Word of God and especially in the Breaking of the Bread; 3) suffering is necessary for the Messiah “to enter into his glory”; and 4) we have a risen Savior, One Who personally walks with us in our daily paths, talks with us through His Word and with Whom we can talk through prayer. He is the One Who opens our minds to understand and respond to His Word. (The bishops at the Second Vatican Council recorded these compelling words which are still deeply relevant to the Church today: ‘The Church has always venerated the Divine Scriptures just as it venerates the Body of the Lord, since from the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of Christ it unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the Bread of Life. It has always regarded the Scriptures together with sacred tradition as the supreme rule of Faith and will ever do so” (Dei Verbum 21). Jesus is with us, is concerned about us, and provides for us regardless of what life may bring. Further, the Father, at Jesus’ request, has given us the Holy Spirit so that we may teach others about Him. Let us, therefore, with the perception of His presence, walk with Jesus, talk with Him, depend on Him, worship Him, and tell others about Him.
Life messages: 1) Jesus meets us on our Emmaus Road. The risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmaus, both 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 hopes and dreams often shatter. The story promises us, however, that Jesus will come to us in unfamiliar guises to support and strengthen us when we least expect our risen Lord. Emmaus moments come to us when we meet the risen Christ on our life’s journey through rough times.
2) 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: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2-3). He wants to join us in our travels of life: “I am a Companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts” (Psalms 119:63). “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).
3) We meet Jesus daily in our life’s journey. The Church instructs us to hear Jesus on a daily basis through our faithful reading of, and meditation on, the Bible; through our participation in the Eucharistic celebration at which we receive Jesus as our spiritual Food and Drink ; through our personal and family prayers; and through our family meals. When we meet our risen Lord through the Word of God, we commune with him. We renew our relationship with Jesus through prayer. All these meetings prepare and enable us to encounter the risen Jesus living in all the people we meet and to do Him humble, loving and selfless service in each of them.
4) Do our hearts burn when we listen to the Risen Lord in tradition teaches us that the reading of the Scriptures, the study of the Scriptures and the proclamation of the message of the Scriptures are the primary ways in which we meet God. Vatican II (Dei Verbum 21) tells us that Jesus is to be equally venerated in the Eucharist and in the Bible. Therefore, we need to study the Bible, learn the Bible, memorize the Bible and meditate on the word of God. We know that Christ lives in the Bible, and so we need to spend time in the Bible to have a deep, intimate, loving, caring, long-term relationship with Jesus Christ. We know we are to brush our teeth every day. Likewise, we are to read the Bible every day, making it habitual, because people either read the Bible daily or almost never. When we read the Scriptures daily we meet and converse with Jesus Christ! Abraham Lincoln, whom many consider the best President of the United States, said: “The greatest gift that God gave to human beings is the Bible.” Another President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, said that it was a principle of his to read the Bible through each and every year. Yet another great President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, said, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” Goethe, the great German philosopher, said that the beauty of the Bible grows as we grow in our understanding of it.
5) We need to 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 approach 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 – it is a banquet for all eternity.
Jokes of the week
1) Risen Lord in the train. On her first train trip, a little girl was put into an upper berth by her mother. The mother then assured her that Jesus would watch over her during the night. As the lights were switched off the girl became alarmed and called out softly: “Mom, are you there?” “Yes dear,” her mother replied. A little later the child called in a louder voice: “Daddy, are you also there?” “Yes”, was the reply. After this had been repeated several times, one of the passengers lost patience and shouted: “We’re all here. Your father, your mother, your brothers and sisters and cousins, your uncles and aunts – all are here. Now go to sleep!” There was silence for a while. Then, in a hushed voice the child asked: “Mom, was that risen Jesus traveling with us?”
2) The Risen Lord is watching: Up at the head table in the cafeteria, one of the nuns had placed a big bowl of bright red, fresh, juicy apples. Beside the bowl, she placed a note which read, “Take only one. Remember, Jesus is watching.” At the other end of the table was a bowl full of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven. Beside the bowl was a little note scrawled in a child’s handwriting which read, “Take all you want. Jesus is watching the apples!”
3) Where is God?
USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK
- The beginner’s guide to life of faith: http://www.beginningcatholic.com/
- Catholic Community Forum: News, reflections, homilies, patron saints (http://www.catholic-forum.com/)
Videos & movie
1) https://youtu.be/8YlzWPPiH4A – Jesus at Emmaus video-1
4)Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant: https://youtu.be/xtw8IGFZubA;
26- Additional anecdotes: # 1: The risen Lord with the most beautiful smile. A young boy was walking home through the park after attending a Sunday school class. Somehow, he couldn’t stop thinking about the lesson for that day about Jesus’ teaching on the Last Judgment. What impressed him most was what the teacher said, “When you give something to another person, you’re really giving it to Jesus, and you will find the risen Jesus in everyone you meet.” As he continued through the park, he noticed an old woman sitting on a bench. She looked lonely and hungry. So he sat down next to her, took a chocolate bar he had saved and offered some to her. She accepted it with a beautiful smile, and he watched her smiles as she chewed the chocolate. Then they sat together in silence, just smiling at each other. Finally, the boy got up to leave. As he began to walk away, he turned, ran back to the bench, and gave the woman a big hug. When he arrived home, his mother saw a big smile on his face and asked, “What made you so happy today?” He said, “I shared my chocolate bar with Jesus.” Before his mother could ask more questions, he added, “You know, she has the most beautiful smile in the world.” Meanwhile, the old woman returned to her little apartment where she lived with her sister. “You’re all smiles,” said her sister. “What made you so happy today?” She replied, “I was sitting in the park, eating a chocolate bar with Jesus. And, you know, he looks a lot younger than I expected.” Today’s Gospel tells us that we will meet and experience the risen Jesus in unexpected places and persons. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 2: Euryclea’s moment of recognition: In Homer’s 8th century B.C. Greek epic poem, The Odyssey, we read the tale of Odysseus, the ruler of the Island country, Ithaca. Odysseus was the valiant warrior who fought bravely in the Trojan War. But according to legend, his homeward journey after that war was interrupted for many years as Poseidon, (the god of the sea, angered by Odysseus’ blinding of Poseidon’s son, Polyphemos the one-eyed Cyclops), and Helios, (god of the sun, enraged by the slaughter of his cattle by Odysseus’ men), worked against the best efforts of Odysseus’ patron, Athena (the goddess of wisdom), and Zeus (Father of the Gods), to bring Odysseus home at the end of the time prescribed by his destiny. Odysseus’ journeys carried him far and wide as he encountered mythic beasts, powers and lands, many of which have passed into common parlance: the Cyclops, the Procrustean bed, Scylla and Charybdis, the Sirens’ voices. Meanwhile back at his home, Odysseus’ wife Penelope and family feared him dead. Finally, however, the day came when the gods released Odysseus and he arrived home at last. In his 20-year absence, as Athena had told him, his young son had grown up, and Penelope, his faithful wife had been, for the past three years, besieged by suitors. Athena had commanded Odysseus to destroy these men, restore his kingdom and rule there in peace with his son Telemachus to succeed him. Then Odysseus, disguised by Athena as a poor stranger in need of temporary lodging, made his way to the faithful keeper of the pigs and thence to the housekeeper, Euryclea. She welcomed the apparent traveler and washed his feet as was usual for a guest, telling him about her long-lost master, Odysseus, whom she had served as a nurse when he was young, remarking that the child had been gored by a wild boar, and had a nasty scar on his leg from the tusk. As Euryclea finished washing the stranger’s feet, her hand brushed against that old scar. Instantly her eyes were opened and she recognized, with great joy, her beloved friend and master! Today’s Gospel describes how the Emmaus travelers recognized their fellow traveler’s identity as the risen Lord at the breaking of the bread. (Scott Hoeze). (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 3: “I met some guy in here last week who looks just like you!” A man wrote to Reader’s Digest to tell about his father-in-law, whose name is Eugene. Eugene was in a restaurant with some business associates when a distinguished-looking gentleman rushed up to his table. Hardly able to contain his enthusiasm, the man began to pump Eugene’s hand vigorously, all the while addressing him as Joe, fondly recalling the great times they had together in the Army. Eugene, who had served in the Merchant Marines, gently told the man that he was mistaken, and had evidently confused him with someone else. The stranger, obviously embarrassed, apologized profusely and left. A week later, while leaving the same restaurant, Eugene bumped into the stranger again. This time, the stranger hugged him, and repeated to all within earshot the poignant story of two Army buddies who had not seen each other in years. Finally, before Eugene could speak a word, he said, “You know, you’re never going to believe this, but I met some guy in here last week who looks just like you!” We could understand that happening. He hadn’t seen his old Army buddy in many years. We can even understand about the man in the hospital thinking another woman was his wife. But how do you explain Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb not recognizing the Risen Christ? And how do you explain the two disciples on the road to Emmaus walking and talking with Christ for seven miles that same day, and they, too, did not recognize him? Today’s Gospel tells that story? (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 4: “Are you Jesus?” Several years ago, a group of computer salesmen from Milwaukee went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in time for dinner. But the meeting ran overtime, and the men had to race to the railway station, tickets in hand. As they barged through the terminal, one man inadvertently kicked over a table supporting a basket of apples. Without stopping, all the men reached the train and boarded it with sighs of relief. But one of them paused, feeling a twinge of compunction for the boy whose apple stand had been overturned. He waved goodbye to his companions and returned to the boy. He was glad he had because the ten-year-old boy was blind. The salesman gathered up the apples and noticed that several of them were bruised. He reached into his wallet and said to the boy, “Here, please take this ten-dollar bill for the damage we did. I hope it won’t spoil your day.” As he started to walk away, the bewildered boy called after him, “Are you Jesus?” Jesus comes to us in various disguises. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 5: The story of “Wrong Way Riegels” is a familiar one, but it bears repeating. On New Year’s Day, l929, Georgia Tech played UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In that game a young man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for UCLA. Picking up the loose ball, he lost his sense of direction and ran sixty-five yards toward the wrong goal line. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, ran him down and tackled him just before he reached the end zone. The Bruins were forced to punt. Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, demoralizing the UCLA team. The strange play came in the first half. At halftime the UCLA players filed off the field and into the dressing room. They sat around on benches and the floor. But Riegels put a blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, and put his face in his hands. A football coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. When the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time, Coach Price looked at the team and said, “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He didn’t budge. The coach looked back and called to him. Riegels didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.” Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with tears. “Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve ruined the university’s reputation. I’ve ruined myself. I can’t face that crowd out there.” Coach Price reached out, put his hands on Riegels’ shoulder, and said, “Roy, get up and go on back. The game is only half over.” [“To Illustrate,” Leadership (Spring 1992), p. 49.] No appearance of Christ after the Resurrection is more vivid or beautiful than the episode that takes place on the Road to Emmaus because it is a story of singular grace and charm. The two disciples, like Roy Riegels, were traveling in the wrong direction. They had “fumbled” and were running away from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They thought the game of life was over. Imagine their surprise when Jesus told them that the same team of disciples who had fled from the cross was going to start the second half of the game. He was telling them there would be a tomorrow. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 6: Jesus on a Maple tree? There is an 80-foot tall maple tree in Milford, Connecticut that hasn’t changed much over the years. There are new leaves every spring, of course, and the leaves fall off every autumn. And there is the spot where a limb came off when Hurricane Gloria blew through in 1985.The spot where the limb was blown off caused quite a stir in the neighborhood sometime back. One of the residents, Claudia Voight, looked at the tree one day and saw what looked like the face of Jesus. “It took my breath away,” she recalls. “I told my friend to come over and pretty soon we had the entire neighborhood here looking.” Word spread quickly throughout the area and before anyone realized it the maple tree became a popular attraction as car after car drove by to see the face of Christ on the tree. Drivers slowed down as they passed by, while others parked and walked through yards to see firsthand this strange apparition. Eve Mizera, another Hawley Avenue neighbor, brought her 17-year-old son over to touch the tree in the hope it would cure him of the seizures that he suffers. “You never know,” Eve says. Another resident, Cathy Cornwall, says she brought her three children over to see the tree. “We have a lot of single mothers in the neighborhood,” she explains, “and teenagers who have to make tough decisions in these times.” Cathy also sees the face in the tree as a message of hope. She says it’s “like a message to have faith in ourselves and to have hope for the world.” [“Face of Jesus seen in a maple tree,” The Morning Call (Allentown, PA, July 25, 1992), p. B-25.] This brings us to our question for the day. Where in the world do we find Jesus? Today’s Gospel gives us the answer that Jesus meets us on our life’s Emmaus road. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 7: It takes the signal nine hours to get to earth. In 1972, NASA launched an exploratory space probe called Pioneer 10. The mission of Pioneer 10 was to fly to Jupiter, take pictures of the planet and moons and send back data about the atmosphere, magnetic field, and radiation belts. Many scientists did not think this would be possible, because they feared that the probe would be destroyed in the asteroid belt, and up to this point, no probe had made it past Mars. But, Pioneer 10 completed its mission in November of 1973, and continued to travel into space. By 1997, the probe had traveled six billion miles from the sun. In spite of the great distance, scientists are still able to pick up radio signals from the probe that they can decipher. What is more remarkable is that these signals are sent by an 8‑watt transmitter, which is only as powerful as a night light, and it takes the signal nine hours to get to earth. (Rev. Matt Sapp, http://www.ccountry.net/~svchurch/svcc/sermons/mark10d.htm) It is always amazing to me that a generation that takes for granted the wonders of science is so quick to dismiss the power and the purpose of the Creator who set it all in motion in the first place. God is alive. God is personal. God cares about us and God desires to reveal Himself to us just as Christ revealed himself to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 8: “But I’ve got this problem, I can’t sleep at night.” Dr. Tony Campolo, in his film series, You Can Make a Difference, tells the story of a Christian colleague with a PhD. in English Literature who quit his job and became a mailman because Christ opened up a new tomorrow in his life. Tony went to the man’s apartment to try to persuade him to change his mind. Here is how Tony describes that encounter: Tony says, “I couldn’t change his mind, so I came back with the old Protestant work ethic thing. I said, ‘Charlie, if you’re gonna be a mailman, be the best mailman you can be.’ He looked at me with a silly grin and said, ‘I’m a lousy mailman.’ I asked, ‘What do you mean, you’re a lousy mailman?’ He answered, ‘Everybody else gets the mail delivered by one o’clock; I never get back until about five thirty or six.’ ‘What takes so long?’ I wanted to know. He said, ‘I visit! That’s why it takes so long. You wouldn’t believe how many people on my route never got visited until I became the mailman. But I’ve got this problem, I can’t sleep at night.’ I asked, ‘Why can’t you sleep?’ He said, ‘Who can sleep after drinking twenty cups of coffee?’ I began to get the image of this mailman on the job. He was no ordinary mailman. I could picture him going from door to door and at each home giving more than the mail. I could see him visiting solitary widows, counseling troubled teenagers, joking with lonely old men. I could see him delivering the mail in a way that was extra-ordinary for the people on his route. He’s the only mailman I know that on his birthday the people on his route get together, hire out a gym, and throw a party for him. They love him because he’s a mailman who expresses the love of Jesus everywhere, he goes. In his own subtle way, my friend Charles is changing his world, changing the lives of people, touching them where they are, making a difference in their lives. It may not sound like much, but that man who is delivering mail like Jesus would deliver mail, is an agent of God who is changing the world.” [Tony Campolo, You Can Make a Difference, (Word, Inc., l984), pp. 54-55.] We can return to our “Jerusalem” and wait for the energizing power of the Holy Spirit to help us to travel like the PhD mailman, in a new direction doing the work that we feel Christ has called us to do. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 9: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water or do you want a chance to change the world?” On March 20, 1983, John Sculley, President of Pepsi Cola and one of America’s fastest rising corporate stars, stepped off the elevator and into the penthouse suite of the San Remo apartment building in New York. He was there to give Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, an answer to his offer. For months, Jobs and his staff, badly in need of a brilliant leader to manage their rapid growth, had been trying to lure Sculley away from Pepsi. Sculley had discouraged their efforts. He had no interest in leaving Pepsi and he knew almost nothing about computers. Besides, he was slotted for the top spot at Pepsi and his salary, stock options and perks were beyond anything Jobs could hope to match. Still, Jobs persisted. Their conversation unfolded like this, according to Sculley: “We were on the balcony’s west side, facing the Hudson River and he finally asked me directly: ‘Are you going to come to Apple?’ ‘Steve,’ I said, ‘I really love what you’re doing. I’m excited by it. How could anyone not be captivated? But it doesn’t make sense. I’d love to be an advisor to you, to help you in any way. Anytime you’re in New York, I’d love to spend time with you. But I don’t think I can come to Apple.’ Steve’s head dropped as he stared at the pavement. After a weighty, uncomfortable pause, he issued a challenge that would haunt me for days: ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water or do you want a chance to change the world?'” (Youth Worker, Spring, 1993.) When the two disciples recognized it was the Lord Jesus who shared dinner with them even though they had failed and forsaken him, they never felt more loved. Their hearts burned with His love. Jesus declared to them that the game of life was only half over. They were to turn around and get back to Jerusalem and await further instructions and a new assignment. The schedule would go on as planned. Jesus was giving them a chance to change the world. That brings us to a question that we should often ask ourselves as we travel on our own Emmaus road. Are we affecting the world–or is the world infecting us? (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 10: “What exciting thing is going to happen today?” In A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, Pooh and Piglet take an evening walk. For a long time, they walk in silence. Silence like only best friends can share. Finally, Piglet breaks the silence and asks, “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh, what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” “What’s for breakfast?” answers Pooh, and then asks, “And what do you say, Piglet?” Piglet says, “I say, I wonder what exciting thing is going to happen today?”[Robert D. Dale, To Dream Again, (Broadman Press, Nashville, 1981).] You and I can’t really plan to meet the risen Christ because we never really know when or where He’s going to show up. But you can be sure of this: He will show up. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 11: “And the light in his eyes does not go out”: Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn demonstrated the power of the Word of God in his book, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a book based on his own prison experiences. Ivan notices that one of his fellow prisoners in the Gulag Archipelago is not broken, and the light in his eyes does not go out, as it seems to in all the other convicts. This is because each night in his bunk before the glimmering bulb is turned off, this man reverently unfolds some wrinkled pieces of paper that have somehow escaped the censor. On them are copied passages from the Gospels. The Book of Life was the secret of this man’s strength and endurance deep in the darkest corner behind the Iron Curtain. [Earl C. Davis in Sermons and Services for Special Days, Jack Galledge, ed. (Nashville Convention Press, 1979).] That is one way we encounter the risen Christ – in the “Breaking of the Bread of Life” which is the Word. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 12: For Helen Keller it was a gigantic breakthrough: Young Helen Keller was imprisoned by her circumstances. She could neither see nor hear. She could feel with her hands, but without sight or hearing, how could she know what it was she was feeling? One day her teacher Ann Sullivan took Helen down a familiar path to the well house. Someone was drawing water there. Ann let the water run over one of Helen’s hands and in sign language spelled into the other, WATER. Suddenly something happened within Helen. Something dramatic. Something life changing. It was only a five-letter word, but for Helen Keller it was a gigantic breakthrough. She now had a name for a familiar part of her life, water. If this substance had a name, other familiar objects and sensations must have names as well. It was as if she had suddenly burst forth from a closely guarded prison. Now she could be a whole person, experiencing the world as a real human being in spite of her handicaps. Such a breakthrough is always exciting. Such a breakthrough came to two of the disciples of Jesus on their Emmaus journey described in today’s Gospel. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 13: “Don’t worry, Miss, I’ve got you.” Our tendency is to look for Christ in the extraordinary, the spectacular, the breathtaking. Remember in Superman: The Movie when Superman first reveals his superpowers to the world? Lois Lane is dangling from a cable, high atop the Daily Planet building, screaming at the top of her lungs. Just as she begins her long fall to earth, Superman changes into his flashy red, yellow, and blue outfit and swoops up to catch her in midair. “Don’t worry, Miss,” he assures her, “I’ve got you.” “You’ve got me,” she exclaims. “Who’s got you?” Just then the helicopter that has been perched on the edge of the building begins to fall straight toward them and the crowd below. But Superman merely grabs it with his one free arm and gently sets both it and Lois safely back on the landing pad. When he turns to leave, an astonished Lois stammers out the words, “Who ARE you?” “A friend,” Superman replies warmly, and as he flies straight up into the air with a sort of half twist, Lois faints in a heap. [Jack Kuhatschek, The Superman Syndrome (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), p. 133.] That’s the way we would like to have Christ to come to us. And that is why we miss Him. Christ reveals Himself as He has always revealed Himself – “through the Word and through the Sacraments,” that is, through the study of Scripture and the Breaking of the Bread. That is why, when we need encouragement, we go to our Bibles or we go to our Church because there Christ is revealed in all his glory. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 14: “We pursue him in order to show him the way.” There is a gripping story of a traveler who was walking along the road one day when a man on horseback rushed by. There was an evil look in his eyes and blood on his hands. Minutes later a crowd of riders drew up and wanted to know if the traveler had seen someone with blood on his hands go by. They were in hot pursuit of him. “Who is he?” the traveler asked. “An evil-doer,” said the leader of the crowd. “And you pursue him in order to bring him to justice?” asked the traveler. “No,” said the leader, “we pursue him in order to show him the way.” [Fr. Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990), p. 65.] The picture we have in the New Testament is of a God who pursues us so that He may show us the way. Christ comes to the two disciples. They do not recognize him, but it is Jesus who takes the initiative. He walks with them and interprets Scripture for them. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 15: The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches. There is a story of a British soldier in the First World War who lost heart for the battle and deserted. Trying to reach the coast for a boat to England that night, he ended up wandering in the pitch-black night, hopelessly lost. In the darkness, he came across what he thought was a signpost. It was so dark that he began to climb the post so that he could read it. As he reached the top of the pole, he struck a match to see and found himself looking squarely into the face of Jesus Christ. He realized that, rather than running into a signpost, he had climbed a roadside crucifix. Then he remembered the One who had died for him . . . who had endured . . . who had never turned back. The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches. [“To Illustrate,” Preaching Magazine, (Jan-Feb 1989).] Maybe that’s what you and I need to do in the moments of our distress and darkness – strike a match in the darkness and look on the face of Jesus Christ. For Christ is here. He comes to us just as he came to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, even though we may not recognize him. He takes the initiative. He knocks on the door. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
# 16: Healing of the grandfather: The grandfather of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber was lame. Once day they asked him to tell a story about his teacher, and he related how his master used to hop and dance while he prayed. The old man rose as he spoke and was so swept away by his story that he himself began to hop and dance to show how his master did it. From that moment he was cured of his lameness. When we tell the story of Christ, we achieve two things. We enable others to experience Him, and we ourselves experience his power even more. We can see that happening in today’s Gospel. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
17) “We are winning!” A young boy was playing left field in a Little League game when a man yelled over the fence, “Hey son, who’s winning?” The little boy replied, “We are!” “What’s the score?” “They have 23 — We have 0.” “They have you 23 to 0?” The man was confused. “I thought you said you were winning.” “Oh, we are,” explained the little boy. “You see, we ain’t come to bat yet!” It was easy for the disciples to quit. The One in Whom they had placed their hopes was dead. It was 23 to nothing in their life that Easter morning. (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
18) Karl Barth’s barber: Karl Barth, one of the twentieth century’s most famous Protestant theologians, was on a streetcar one day in Basel, Switzerland where he lived and lectured. A tourist to the city climbed on the streetcar and sat down next to Barth. The two men started chatting with each other. “Are you new to the city?” Barth inquired. “Yes,” said the tourist. “Is there anything you would particularly like to see in this city?” asked Barth. “Yes,” he said, “I’d love to meet the famous theologian Karl Barth. Do you know him?” Barth replied, “Well as a matter of fact, I do. I give him a shave every morning.” The tourist got off the streetcar quite delighted. He went back to his hotel saying to himself, “I met Karl Barth’s barber today.” That amuses me. That tourist was in the presence of the very person he most wanted to meet, but even with the most obvious clue, he never realized that the man with whom he was talking was the great man himself. It reminds me of Mary’s reaction on Easter morning. In her grief, she thinks the man she is speaking to is the gardener. It is not, of course. Until he calls her by name, she does not realize that she is already speaking with the risen Christ. And, of course, it reminds me of that scene on the road to Emmaus, when later that same Easter day, two of the disciples walk for a while with the resurrected Jesus, and they, too, have no idea with whom they are conversing. (Rev. King Duncan, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com. Quoted by Fr. Tony Kayala) (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
19) And it opened my eyes: (from the Confessions of St. Augustine). Augustine made a life in Rome and Milan between the 4th and 5th centuries, and, after his conversion to Christianity, he returned to Hippo, in Africa as its Bishop. After Rome fell and faded into dust, Augustine’s writings were what largely that kept Christianity alive and made it the most influential movement the world has ever known. It is remarkable that between the 8th and 12th centuries Augustine’s writings were more widely read than any other. And that was 400 to 700 years after his death. But he was not always a saint. Before he was converted at age 29, he lived to fulfill every lust and pleasure. But Augustine had one great quality that saved his pitiful life – a praying mother. She never gave up on him, and then one day he stopped long enough to listen to the voices around him. Augustine had just heard a sermon by Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. We are told in public speaking and preaching classes not to read long quotes but I’m going to do it anyway and read something that Augustine wrote. These two paragraphs shaped the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people throughout history. Augustine is looking back on his conversion to Christianity and the convictions of his heart. Here’s the quote: “One day, under deep conviction: I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig-tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out…So was I weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighboring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting and oft repeating, “Take up and read; Take up and read.” Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words; nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So, checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find… Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius (his friend) was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: ‘Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh…’ No further would I read; nor did I need to, for instantly at the end of this sentence, as if before a peaceful light streaming into my heart, all the dark shadows of doubt vanished away. [Adapted from John K. Ryan, trans., The Confessions of St. Augustine, Book 8, Chapter 12, Section 29 (New York: Doubleday Image, 1960), p. 202; quoted by Fr. Kayala.] (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
20) Schindler’s List: In the 1993 Academy Award winning movie, Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler is a selfish businessman who, halfway through World War II, turned his profitable factory into a very unprofitable cover operation to save Jews from the gas chambers. At the end of the movie, as the war ends, Schindler is standing with the people he has saved. He looks around at their faces and then he starts to break down. He holds up his watch and says that if he had sold that he could have saved another five people. He does the same with his cuff links. Then he starts to list all the ways he could have saved more people if he had been just less lazy and less self-centered just a little bit sooner. He had discovered his mission, but he regretted that he hadn’t discovered it sooner. We too have a mission. We are on a meaningful journey, a pilgrimage, our Emmaus journey. Christ doesn’t want us to have any regrets, and so he reminds us of this again today. (E-Priest). (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
21) Pulling Carts and Building Cathedrals: Centuries ago, when our fellow Christians were building the astonishing Gothic Cathedrals of Europe, the whole town or city would contribute to the work. Sometimes they would do so directly. They would quarry the stone from somewhere outside the city, and every townsperson would put their own stones onto carts. Some of the carts and wagons became so heavy that they would require hundreds of people to pull them to the building site. Yes, the people themselves would pull those carts. They would harness themselves to the carts with ropes, or just grab onto ropes attached to the carts full of stone for the rising cathedral. And all together they would pull the cart along. Sometimes they would sing hymns as they pulled. Most of the time they would pull in silence, each one praying to the Lord in the quiet of his heart, thinking about how much Christ had sacrificed himself on the cross to be able to offer them salvation, and offering him prayers and their own sacrifice in thanksgiving, and in penance for their sins. They had no iPods to listen to as they worked, and no pay-check to look forward to. What gave them the strength to carry on that backbreaking work, week after week, month after month, decade after decade? It was prayer. They pulled those carts loaded with stone, and while they pulled, they prayed. We too are pulling our carts through life, loaded with the stones of suffering, frustration, and hardship. And if we become men and women of prayer, we will not only find the strength to keep on pulling, but the Holy Spirit, the master architect, will even build those stones of suffering into beautiful cathedrals, glorifying God and filling hearts with joy for all eternity. The same should be our aim while we are on our life’s journey to Emmaus. (E-priest). (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
22) You are my sunshine: Like all good parents, when Karen and her husband found that another baby was on the way, they did what they could to help their three-year old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. When they found the baby was going to be a girl, they would gather Michael in their arms and he would sing to his sister in Mummy’s tummy the only song he knows, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” The pregnancy progressed normally, then the labour pains, but complications arise during delivery. Finally, Michael’s sister is born but she is in serious conditions. The days inch by but the little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, “There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.” Michael keeps begging to see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he pleads. But children are not allowed in the ICU. Finally, Karen makes up her mind. She will take Michael to the hospital whether they like it or not, figuring that if he doesn’t see his sister now, he may never see her alive. She dresses him and marches him to the ICU, but the head nurse bellows, “Get that kid out of here now!” Karen glares into the nurse’s face, her lips a firm line, “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!” Michael gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live, and begins to sing in the pure hearted voice of a three-year-old: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are grey…” Instantly, the baby responds. Her pulse rate becomes calm and steady. Keep on singing Michael! “You never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” The baby’s ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten’s purr. Michael’s little sister relaxes at rest, -healing rest seems to sweep over her. Keep on singing Michael! Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows. Funeral plans are scrapped. The next day -the very next day- the little girl is well enough to go home! – In an article about the incident, Woman’s Day magazine called it “the miracle of a brother’s song.” Karen called it a miracle of God’s love. The medical staff simply called it a miracle. We call it the Lazarus story all over again. Love is stronger than death. The awareness of the real presence of the risen Lord works such miracles in our lives too. (William Bausch in The Word In and Out of Season; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
23) “The Church of the Second Chance.” In the book titled “Saint Maybe” the main character has done something horrible. As he is aimlessly walking around he happens to see a church by name, “The Church of the Second Chance.” He wanders in and sits down. During the service his mind is opened to the possibility of making amends for his sin, a ”do-over.“ Today’s Gospel is a good example of the truth that God does not expect us to be perfect. But he wants us to recognize His presence with us and seek His help. St. John, the Gospel writer, seems almost to get a kick out of the clueless and sad couple Cleopas and his wife, finally recognizing the Risen Lord, “the God of second chances,” at the “Breaking of the Bread.” Here as they are running away from the Lord of the Second Chance, He welcomes them, and they run back seven miles to Jerusalem to convey the Good News of the Lord’s resurrection to the fellow apostles. (Fr. Steve Humphrey). HR (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
24) The Dismissal is most important: A teacher was once speaking to her students about the Eucharist. She asked the students which was, in their opinion, the most important part of the Mass. Without batting an eyelid, one student replied, “The Dismissal- Go, the Mass is ended!” Initially the teacher thought the student was joking, but he was absolutely serious and meant just what he said. So the teacher asked him to explain, and this is his answer: “The whole purpose of the Mass is to nourish us spiritually -first, with God’s Word in the Liturgy of the Word, and second, with God’s Life in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, culminating in the Holy Communion. And God nourishes us so that we can go forth and bear witness to Him by our lives, our words and our actions.” The teacher was impressed and urged the student to continue. And so he added, “The Eucharist does not end with the Dismissal Rite. On the contrary, it begins there. Like the two disciples at Emmaus, we must go forth and tell others what the Lord Jesus means to us.” (James Valladares in Your Words, O Lord, Are Spirit, and They Are Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
25) Valmiki and St. Francis Xavier: The meeting of Jesus was a life changing experience for the two disciples. In history, we see many people whose lives have been changed by unexpected events. The Uttara Khanda (the seventh and last book of what we call the Valmiki Ramayana) tells the story of Valmiki’s early life as a highway robber named Valya Koli, who used to rob people after killing them. Once, the robber tried to rob the divine sage Narada for the benefit of his family. Narada asked him if his family would share the sin he was incurring due to the robbery. The robber replied positively, but Narada told him to confirm this with his family. The robber asked his family, but none agreed to bear the burden of sin. Dejected, the robber finally understood the truth of life and asked for Nerada’s forgiveness, and meditated for many years, so much so that ant-hills grew around his body. Finally, a divine voice declared his penance successful, bestowing him with the name “Valmiki”: “one born out of ant-hills.” According to the legend, one unexpected question shook his life, and transformed a robber into a sage. The ambitious dreams of Francis Xavier to shine in the world over as one of its most intellectual luminaries were thwarted by the famous words of Jesus, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he loses his own soul?” St. Ignatius de Loyola dinned this reminder into Xavier’s ears, and it proved a life-changing experience. For Francis Xavier, representing the Jesuits, landed in Goa, and spent his days nursing the sick and teaching them Christian doctrine. “Build a Man a Fire, and He’ll Be Warm for a Day. Set a Man on Fire, and He’ll Be Warm for the Rest of His Life,” says the proverb. That is what Ignatius de Loyola did for Francis Xavier. That is what Jesus did to the disciples who were on their way to Emmaus. (Fr. Bobby Jose). (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
26) “Go to Mass every Sunday… work in a soup kitchen!” Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee said in an interview in the magazine The Critic: “If younger people are having an identity problem as Catholics, I tell them to do two things: Go to Mass every Sunday, and work in a soup kitchen. If one does those two things over a period of time, then something will happen to give one a truly Catholic identity. The altar and the marketplace-these two must be related to each other; when they are, one works better, and prays better.” (Quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 25) by Fr. Tony: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my website by clicking on http://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle A homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at email@example.com. Visit http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html for the Vatican version of this homily Or https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies under Fr. Tony for my website version. Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604