Third Sunday of Easter – May 8, 2011
Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35
The travelling conversation between the two men going to Emmaus and their mystery companion must have been an uncomfortable one. Here was a person who did not know what all had been happening, who did not understand the depth of confusion and loss, who even tried to provide an alternate reading of the situation … ! In his historical review it seemed as though the point was that all that had taken place to that point – including the horror of the death and the reports of the missing body were all part of the grand scheme of God’s love and redemption.
Don’t you find it frustrating when someone who obviously is not part of the situation comes in and tries to explain it all to you??!!
And that is what Jesus did – though in fact he was at the centre of everything. Then, when these weary disciples recognized him as he broke bread with them (just as he had done when feeding the thousands, and then again during the last meal together with them); then it was that they found new hope and energy and hurried back to the scene of the disaster to share this good news with their friends.
In all of today’s readings we find nothing static. It’s all about moving on:
- From depression to hope
- From accusation and guilt to repentance and belonging
- From futile ways to LIFE that is ever-renewed.
What principles for living a life in the spirit of Jesus Christ would we find here?
- The work of the disciples then – and now – has never been to simply maintain the status quo or to return to a more comfortable starting point, or even to memorialize a glorious past, but to lead into the future. We could wring our hands about the current cultural shift from a traditional Christian-based society to a post-Christian secular society. The data would seem to support it:
- Fewer people attend church on a regular and frequent basis (researchers, using 2001 census data, tell us that under 30% of Canadians attend church on a monthly basis and about 40% have no real connection with any structured faith group at all)
- There are more options for community-building and community support
- Families have many demands, including sports that are often scheduled at a time that church communities traditionally plan to worship.
But we are not called to hand-wringing. We are called to a life of hope and growth; we are called to know and see God in every age and in every situation.
- Know that you are connected to LIFE through Jesus Christ. Know that you are called to live into that resurrection life through the Holy Spirit which leads us into new understanding of God’s truth and enables us to live in the way of Jesus.
- Real change, deep transformation, requires courage and stamina to begin and sustain conversations about the things which deeply concern us and those around us.
- It is in the act of eating with Jesus and others – symbolically and in actual feasts and dinners that we continue to know the love and presence of God.
So, let us prepare to eat at the table hosted by Jesus … and then let us remember that in every meal we share with others we could recognize the hope of God come among us – in faces new or familiar.
The disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread – and they ran to tell their friends.