May 04, 2014 - 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
A young boy spent an exciting day in the park. It was a day of fun and adventure.
After awhile he was hungry. His mom had prepared a feast in his backpack: lunchables and ding dongs and skittles and soft drinks.
He looked for a place to have a picnic. The park was full. Finally, he settled for a park table that he had to share with a grandmotherly woman.
He began eating. And because he was a polite young man, he thought to offer some of his picnic to the woman. She silently accepted.
At the end of the day, the boy’s mother asked him how he enjoyed his day.
The boy smiled and announced, “I had lunch with God!”
“Yes, but I never knew that God was a woman and she is very old.”
Likewise, the old woman returned home. One of her grown children asked how her day had gone.
She announced, “I had lunch with God!”
“Yes, but I never knew that God was such a young boy.”
All of us would like to have lunch with God, wouldn’t we? We would very much love to have an encounter with Jesus as the two disciples did on the road to Emmaus.
We would give anything to have that kind of experience with the Risen Lord, to be able to say, “Our hearts were burning within us!”
The story is cute, but don’t we wish we could see God in others as easily as the young boy and the old woman?
But usually we settle for complaining about this, that or the other.
Peter, in his letter which we heard today, understands this frustration. He describes our lives as a sojourn, a journey, an adventure.
We are all headed somewhere much like the disciples who were leaving Jerusalem and headed for Emmaus.
The problem is that we, like them, are usually headed in the wrong direction. Yes! The disciples on the road to Emmaus are headed in the wrong direction.
So often we invest faith and energy in the wrong stuff.
Parents place their hope and dreams in their children.
They want them to avoid the mistakes that they made.
Carrying that burden, it’s no wonder that our children sometimes disappoint us. They cannot live our dreams.
Spouses place their hopes and dreams in each other. But then the relationship doesn’t go the way they want it to. It’s no wonder why frustrations arise.
Or maybe we put our faith in our parents until they fail us.
Or sometimes we put too much hope in our parish priests until we realize that they are human and make mistakes too.
The same is true for our elected officials, our bosses, our doctors, our teachers, anyone or anything other than God.
In each instance, we are headed in the wrong direction.
What’s so amazing and remarkable about this Gospel is that Jesus encounters the disciples while they were headed in the wrong direction.
He walked along with them while they were going the wrong way.
He didn’t chastise them, he didn’t correct them. He didn’t even tell them they were going in the wrong way.
He simply walked with them and revealed himself to them. And they did come to recognize him in the breaking of the bread.
Like the disciples, we don’t always recognize Jesus when he walks along with us. But we should recognize him when we gather around his table for the breaking of the bread.
The Risen Lord Jesus is made know to us in the breaking open of the scriptures and in the breaking of the bread.
We hear the scriptures explained to us and we are nourished by Jesus’ body and blood which he gave to us at the Last Supper.
When we come to recognize Jesus, we can get up and begin heading back in the right direction.
The young boy and the elderly woman were surprised to find God.
That surprise can be ours as we gather at this very special meal that we share together.
Aren’t our hearts burning with us? They should be, because today we gather in this holy place to have lunch with God.