“The disciples told their story …..” There’s something fresh and wonderful about that. It’s like being at a movie or out for a meal and wanting to share that moment with others. We’re almost not happy until we get a commitment from the ones being told – “Yeah, I must go to see that. I look forward to going there sometime … thanks for letting me know”. The story they told was one of a personal encounter with Jesus. It was an encounter, like many of the best ones, which took them by surprise. He was quite literally the last person they expected to see. How many times had they told and re-told that story? “We were walking along. It was a long and difficult walk. Our hearts were broken and we just couldn’t get our heads around the thought that he was gone. Then this man was with us. He asked us what we were talking about. Oddly enough it didn’t seem wrong for him to ask and we began to tell him. The road seemed shorter and the conversation went to a place we’d not expected. Our hearts burned within us. And then, we finished up in a restaurant and he gave us broken bread … that’s the moment we knew who he was …..”
We need somehow, with these men, to make this story our own. We need that encounter with Jesus. We need to feel him beside us, hear the sound of his footsteps on the gravel of our roads too. For that to happen we need to be talking about our faith. It was in response to their faith-based conversation, the Lord entered their journey. If they’d been talking about sport, last night’s episode of our favourite soap or catching up on someone’s latest rant on some topic removed from them, how difficult it would have been to enter their moment. But no, they were talking about their faith being shaken, their Lord being taken and he heard where they were and it was only natural that he’d join them. There’s a message in all of this for us today. If we want him to talk with us, we must be prepared to talk about him – to talk with him, walk with him, sit at table with him and allow ourselves be nourished by the broken bread that is his body.
He does it again, just now. As they’re telling their story he walks into their midst. He assures them he is flesh. He’s not at some sort of heavenly remove or untouchable. On the contrary he says that they should touch him, feel the very essence of him and be convinced and hear again the message that all he said, all that was written about him had to be fulfilled and has to be fulfilled. The Lord desperately wants us to know He’s here for us and with us. There’s no high level of security keeping us at a pre-determined remove. That’s one of the things we like so much about Pope Francis – his gift of connect. He knows his place is among people and he knows this is where the Lord wants him to be.
Where to for all of us today on the road from Emmaus? The road to it was one thing but the real difference is made on the road taken afterwards. The same can be said of our coming to Mass today. Where to from here? How ready are we to talk about him as we go? How open are we to his joining in our conversation? How tuned in are we to the reality that unless we are prepared to talk about him and to him, it’s very difficult for him to enter our journey?
You are witnesses to this!
Homilies for April – “The Furrow” – Vincent Sherlock