Sermons > SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER


6 Apr 2008

"With that their eyes were opened and they recognized [Jesus]."

  (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

 those

words of the risen Jesus that He says to Thomas: ³Blessed are those

 who have

not seen, yet believe.²  Those words are for us; they bring us into

 John¹s

Easter story.  Today Luke is doing basically the same thing when he

 tells us

of the journey of Cleopas and his companion, both of whom are walking

 to the

village of Emmaus on Easter Sunday.  They were walking side by side

 with the

risen Jesus, listening to Him speak, and yet He went unrecognized, that

 is

until they stopped for the night, and Jesus sat with them at table,

 took the

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

 to

see Jesus as still present among us in the Eucharist.  In this sense

 it¹s

just like last Sunday¹s reading about doubting Thomas. It brings us

 directly

into the Easter story.  But the Emmaus story also holds a warning for

 us.



It is a wondrous gift to be able to see Jesus with us here in His

 church, at

His altar, in His sacrament.  We¹re kind of like the people I was

 talking

about earlier: we can see things that others can¹t.  Just like

 Cleopas, we

can see the presence of Jesus in what we do here.  We can see through

 the

ordinary to the extraordinary, and that¹s not a universal gift by any

 means,

and we should greatly cherish this gift. But there¹s still that

 warning in

the Road to Emmaus story.  The same disciples who could see Jesus in

 the

breaking of bread could not see Him walking down the road.



One of the earliest titles for the Christian faith was ³The Way.²

  It¹s used

eight times in the Acts of the Apostles, the first history of the

 Christian

church.  We are called to be followers of Jesus, and that¹s where the

 name

³The Way² came from. As followers the implication is that it¹s not

 enough to

only believe in Jesus, we have to also live like Jesus; we have to

 follow

His example.  You know, some people will talk excitedly about laws

 allowing

the 10 Commandments to be hung in courtrooms, but how many Christian

households have them hanging in their living rooms, how many Christians

 can

even name them?  A lot of people get excited about prayer in school,

 but how

many of those same families pray alone or together in their homes?  A

 lot

are opposed to gay marriage, but there is no statistical difference in

 the

divorce rate between believers and non-believers.  Believing in things

 like

commandments, prayer and family are wonderful, but that¹s not enough.

  As

Christians we are part of The Way, we¹re followers of Jesus, here and

 out in

the world.  We have to live our faith not just believe in it.  We have

 to

see Jesus in what we do in the world, not just see Him when we come

 here.

Here we¹re refreshed and strengthened to go out there into the world.

  This

is for us; that¹s for Christ.



Two days ago was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther

 King

Jr.  The day before he was shot by James Earl Ray, he addressed the

sanitation workers of Memphis who were on strike.  Almost

 prophetically,

maybe even really prophetically, he talked on the last day of his life

 an

awful lot about death.  He spoke of how close he had come to death in

 the

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

 fight

peacefully for that equality, was dangerous and even life-threatening,

 but

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

 strike

he was preaching just as much as if he were in the pulpit of his

 church.

Christ was in both places.  Jesus would not have tolerated the

 segregation

that our nation once allowed, so Rev. King followed Jesus and fought

 that

segregation.  That¹s what being a follower means, that¹s what seeing

 Jesus

in the church and in the world means, that¹s what listening to the

 warning

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

 remember

the warning to see Him everywhere.  For this we pray in Jesus¹ name.

  Amen.

(+)

Fr. Randy Calvo

 

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