Homily for 3rd Sunday in Easter - Cycle A

posted Apr 25, 2020, 12:33 PM by Michelle Massung

Homily for 3rd Sunday in Easter- Road to Emmaus


            During my synoptic Gospel class in the seminary, I chose this passage to write my final paper.  It is a long detailed explanation of this passage.  If you would like a copy of this paper, I can email it to you.  Please send me an email at frjohngibbons@gmail.com and I would be happy to send you a copy.

            One of my goals is writing this paper was to prove that the disciple walking with Cleopas, the unnamed disciple was actually his wife Mary.  She was one of the women at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified.  My theory was that they were having an argument as happens sometimes between husbands and wives. She was mad at Cleopas for abandoning Jesus when he was being crucified.  He was trying to defend himself, etc., when Jesus appeared on the scene.  Although a few Scripture scholars agreed with my theory, most felt that Luke left the disciple unnamed because he represents all of mankind.  He wanted to make his point that all of us have trouble recognizing Jesus in our own lives if we are too focused on ourselves and our problems in the world. 

            I learned this lesson the hard way from my Spiritual Director, Fr. Ed.  He was my advisor before I entered the seminary.  We would meet often and discuss how my discernment was coming.  He asked me to go to mass daily.  Since I worked in downtown Houston, it was easy for me to walk about a mile to church.  Along the way to mass, I would see many homeless people sitting by the various stores and shopping areas I would pass along the way.  Often, I would ignore them or even cross to the other side of the street to avoid contact with them.  They were dirty and smelled terrible, especially in the warm, Houston climate.  As I explained this to Fr. Ed, he became a little upset with me and my attitude towards these people.  He gave me very strict instructions that if I didn’t see the face of Jesus in these people, I would never be able to be a priest. 

As a priest, I have to be able to see that all people, regardless of their place in society or health, or any other condition are children of God and are to treated with dignity and respect.  This was a valuable lesson for me. We are all created equally and we all have the same opportunity to spend eternity with Jesus and Mary in heaven.  Once I realized this lesson, rather than ignore the homeless people, I started to greet them and offer them a smile or a word of comfort.  Sometimes they ignored me but most times that smiled back at me. 

            In today’s Gospel, Jesus joins the disciples while they were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  They were so caught up in their own little world, all the worries about what life was going to be like with Jesus gone.  They had truly believed that he was the Messiah.  Now, their world was shattered.  They were so consumed with their own grief and problems that they did not even recognize Jesus in their lives.  He tried to help them by explaining the scriptures to them.  He tried the show them how their lives would be Ok.  It was only after they had received the Eucharist that their eyes were opened and they could recognize Jesus.

            If you look at the progression of this Gospel, it reminds me of our celebration of the mass.  Jesus joins the congregation, and then there are scriptures read and explained in detail.  Once this has been completed, the bread and wine at the table are changed into the body and blood of Christ and distributed to the people.  But one part is missing.  Once we have received his body and blood, are our eyes opened and so we see the face of Jesus in others that we come in contact with? Do we treat others as children of God?  Are we kind and forgiving like Jesus?  Or do we take the reception of his body and blood for granted? Do we truly miss receiving this most precious gift of Christ himself? Even though we cannot receive the Eucharist at this time, we can still see the face of Christ in others, especially in our family members.  We need to continue to reach out to others that are in need of a word of encouragement or a greeting during these most difficult times.  Take time to reach out to some people this week as a way of bringing Christ to them.  In this way, our own eyes will be open like the disciples in today’s Gospel.