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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Emmaus connecting the Mass and the Resurrection

Audio: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bx8IQkJZZ39KWTFqNzE1SDNNbVU The Mass only makes sense because of the Risen Jesus.
During the Easter Season, brothers and sisters, we have the joy of returning to the core of our faith to be renewed in why this stuff matters, and be reminded what it is all about.
The story audio: of Emmaus is a story about how the Mass only makes sense because of the Risen Jesus. And by connection, the Eucharist only makes sense because of the Risen Jesus.
It’s Easter Sunday, and two of Jesus’ disciples (former?) are moving away from Jerusalem.  This is actually the point of the title of my homily blog: TwoDisciplesOnTheRoad.BlogSpot.Com.  They are leaving the place of their only hope, because they feel there is no more hope.  They are not aware of what has happened yet, and so they are somewhat understandably distraught and ready to despair of their late master and teacher: Jesus Christ, crucified and finished.  But the story is remembered and told precisely because Jesus is risen, meets them, and changes everything.  This story wouldn’t be remembered otherwise.
But what is interesting about this story is that it has a structure that clearly outlines the Mass.  It is almost as if the author (and the Christian community itself at the time) was using code-language to express their prayer in the details and expression of this event.  First, they gather together on their journey and begin (in the presence of the Lord) to recall all that had happened.  Then, Jesus explains to them how the Christ had to suffer and come to his glory: he interprets the scriptures for them.  Next they beg the stranger to remain with them (the Lord who at His Ascension will say “I will remain with you always, even to the end of the age.”) and they finally recognize Him as Jesus in the broken bread, recalling that less than a week earlier He told them “this is my Body, given up for you.” Then as His presence remains in the Eucharist, they take their burning hearts out to share the Good News that Jesus is alive and present to them.  This a story about the Mass, and it only makes sense within the context of the Risen Jesus.
It’s also a story about changing directions: by the end the story, remember, these disciples run back to the upper room and recount what has happened to them, when at first their lives were heading in a totally different direction.  So too for us: without Jesus’ rising from the dead, our lives would be heading in a different direction as well.  As we continue through this Easter Season, we also rejoice more fully in the sacraments that flow from our Easter faith, especially the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, by which we are made a new creation in our Risen Lord.  We must thank Him for the new direction He gives us.  And that is exactly what the Mass is: Thanksgiving, the actual definition of the word Eucharist.
So it is good, brothers and sisters, that we reflect more deeply on what is happening in the Mass – both as a parish and as individuals – for it is here in the Mass that the risen Lord Jesus is present to us in three symbolic ways and one true and real way: in the altar of sacrifice by which we are reconciled to God; in the Word of God by which we hear Jesus speak to us anew; in the ministerial priest who stands in the person of Christ; in the Eucharist, which is Jesus Himself, risen and victoriously reigning, offering us peace and life to the full.
Now that the Lord Jesus has opened up the scriptures to us in our weekly Emmaus journey, let us beg Him to stay with us and be present to us once again in this Eucharist, so that we can be sent forth and joyfully share this Good News to the world.

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