6 Apr 2008
"With that their eyes were opened and they recognized [Jesus]."
Fr. Randy Calvo
(Luke 24:31) (+)
Sharon and I went out to a concert about a month ago. She was off
getting ready and I came upstairs all dressed and ready to go. Kristin took
one look at me and said, "Dad, you can¹t wear that." She's a kid. I
see the way they go off dressed to school everyday. I'm not going to listen to
her. I tell her we'll wait and see what her mother says. Kristin knowingly,
condescendingly, says, 'O.K.' So there I am standing in my bedroom
in the clothes I had picked out. Sharon walks in and immediately says, 'You
can't wear that.' Kristin turns around and proudly walks out the door. She
could see what I couldn¹t.
It's said that Charles Dickens based many of his characters in David
Copperfield on people he actually knew growing up poor in London, and
we're still reading about those ordinary people after a century and a half.
He was able to see in his chance encounters things no one else could see.
Or think of the money people pay today for a painting by Van Gogh or
Monet, and yet all they depict is a cottage in the country or a lily on a pond.
It's not just the house or the lily, however, it¹s the way the artist was
able to see the house or the lily. And it's said that Jerry Seinfeld
couldn't live out in Hollywood even though that¹s where he was filming his
television show. He had to come back to the commotion of life in New York City to
get his creative juices flowing. He's made untold millions of dollars
making us laugh at ordinary things we would tend to just shrug-off and walk past
if he hadn't seen them and brought them to our attention. Some people can
just see things that others can't.
Last Sunday we read from the conclusion of John¹s Gospel, and we heard
words of the risen Jesus that He says to Thomas: ³Blessed are those
not seen, yet believe.² Those words are for us; they bring us into
Easter story. Today Luke is doing basically the same thing when he
of the journey of Cleopas and his companion, both of whom are walking
village of Emmaus on Easter Sunday. They were walking side by side
risen Jesus, listening to Him speak, and yet He went unrecognized, that
until they stopped for the night, and Jesus sat with them at table,
bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. These words are
undoubtedly supposed to remind us of Jesus at the Last Supper and the
institution of the Holy Eucharist. The intention is clear that we are
see Jesus as still present among us in the Eucharist. In this sense
just like last Sunday¹s reading about doubting Thomas. It brings us
into the Easter story. But the Emmaus story also holds a warning for
It is a wondrous gift to be able to see Jesus with us here in His
His altar, in His sacrament. We¹re kind of like the people I was
about earlier: we can see things that others can¹t. Just like
can see the presence of Jesus in what we do here. We can see through
ordinary to the extraordinary, and that¹s not a universal gift by any
and we should greatly cherish this gift. But there¹s still that
the Road to Emmaus story. The same disciples who could see Jesus in
breaking of bread could not see Him walking down the road.
One of the earliest titles for the Christian faith was ³The Way.²
eight times in the Acts of the Apostles, the first history of the
church. We are called to be followers of Jesus, and that¹s where the
³The Way² came from. As followers the implication is that it¹s not
only believe in Jesus, we have to also live like Jesus; we have to
His example. You know, some people will talk excitedly about laws
the 10 Commandments to be hung in courtrooms, but how many Christian
households have them hanging in their living rooms, how many Christians
even name them? A lot of people get excited about prayer in school,
many of those same families pray alone or together in their homes? A
are opposed to gay marriage, but there is no statistical difference in
divorce rate between believers and non-believers. Believing in things
commandments, prayer and family are wonderful, but that¹s not enough.
Christians we are part of The Way, we¹re followers of Jesus, here and
the world. We have to live our faith not just believe in it. We have
see Jesus in what we do in the world, not just see Him when we come
Here we¹re refreshed and strengthened to go out there into the world.
is for us; that¹s for Christ.
Two days ago was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther
Jr. The day before he was shot by James Earl Ray, he addressed the
sanitation workers of Memphis who were on strike. Almost
maybe even really prophetically, he talked on the last day of his life
awful lot about death. He spoke of how close he had come to death in
past, and how death would always be near in his future. He knew that
speaking up for the equality of all people, and organizing them to
peacefully for that equality, was dangerous and even life-threatening,
he preached it anyway. Everything that he did for political and social
equality, he did as a follower of Christ. When he addressed those on
he was preaching just as much as if he were in the pulpit of his
Christ was in both places. Jesus would not have tolerated the
that our nation once allowed, so Rev. King followed Jesus and fought
segregation. That¹s what being a follower means, that¹s what seeing
in the church and in the world means, that¹s what listening to the
of the Road to Emmaus means.
Dare to see Jesus everywhere. Dare to ask where He walks and where we
should follow. Cherish the gift that we can see Him here, but also
the warning to see Him everywhere. For this we pray in Jesus¹ name.