Today’s reflection is available both as text and audio.
Yesterday’s FFF reflection was titled finding the others after Jesus’ invitation to Mary of Magdala to go and find the others.
My suggestion was that we too take this invitation and offer an invitation to others to meet at a cafe or bar. You will see the invitations listed below (and I’ll print the full invitation in green below to explain my idea to those who missed it yesterday).
One person added to the comment section that she was free at 2.00pm (yesterday) to meet at Kaiapoi’s Coffee Culture. I had the time so turned up thinking she would be alone but when I arrived there were three people deep in conversation about their lives and their faith.
Today’s gospel gives me a chance to again offer the invitation to meet since, like the disciples of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, we need to talk together about our lives and our faith.
The two disciples on the road did not recognise that the stranger who had joined them was Jesus, the very one whose death they were grieving. The depth of their loss is evident since when Jesus asked what they were chatting about as they walked they stopped short, their faces downcast.
While earlier on that Sunday they had heard rumours that Jesus was alive, they clearly did not believe this and their despair was profound. Yes, they had lost the one they loved, but their high hopes had been dashed as well. They had invested everything in the promise Jesus had given them: Our own hope had been…
Last year on Easter Sunday Pope Francis preached hope.
“Today we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God. It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement. It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own. Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts. But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate. Jesus’ hope is different. He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life.” (Full text at this link)
Wow! I have read that quotation many times and every reading deepens my hope.
Let’s go back to the Emmaus reading for a moment.
In the “Holy Land” the exact sites of many of the central moments in the life of Jesus have been revered places of pilgrimage since the days immediately after the events that took place there. Consequently there is no dispute about exactly where these places are (Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Cana, Galilee, Capernaum, Tiberius etc). In many cases the exact spots of the events in these towns is also undisputed (the birth of Jesus, crucifixion, resurrection, raising of Lazarus). It is therefore a bit unusual that the site of Emmaus, even when the precise seven-mile-from-Jerusalem distance is given in the scripture, remains uncertain.
Perhaps this uncertainty about the exact location is by divine design enabling us to fill in the gap, understanding that every place we journey to and every conversation with friends about the real stuff of our lives is a place of opportunity for recognising and experiencing the presence of the risen Jesus with us.
Every place and every moment in every day is a place and a moment of potential divine encounter.
The Emmaus account marks a beginning moment in which these two disciples become aware that their previous hope in Jesus (that he would bring political security) had been miserably inadequate. Their hope had simply been that Israel would return to the freedom that existed before Roman occupation.
This is what the two Emmaus disciples were talking together about, the stuff of their lives, their hopes and dreams, their concerns and anxieties, their ambitions and projects.
But the resurrection of Jesus had opened a new dimension of human existence, not mere restoration of a previous order, (that could be achieved with a resuscitation) but a resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus does not simply give a passport for citizenship in an adequate earthly empire but instead reveals and offers the answer to all human desire, an abundant life that enables every human person to choose power over suffering and death both now and for eternity.
As they recognised Jesus present among them their eyes were opened and they recalled that their afternoon conversation on the road was already kindling a flame in their hearts.
And their eyes were opened and they recognised him…. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road…
The simple fact that you are taking time to read this Food For Faith encouragement is proof that you have not only already begun this journey, but that you are well on the road.
We might often feel like those disciples on the journey, looking back to brighter times and recalling our faded new year hopes. Perhaps we are at the table of the Eucharist regularly but still not fully experiencing the power of Jesus risen.
We are in great company as companions who have begun this new life and who talk together on the road.
- Out & about with Food For Faith
- Decide that you (and maybe someone else ) are going to have a cuppa or a drink at a cafe, a bar or a food-court in a mall sometime this week.
- Click on the FFF cross image below and print a copy.
- Let me know (by email at email@example.com) where you are going to be, what time and day you will be there, and your first name. I will add this list each day on the FFF posts, inviting anyone who wants to join you to just turn up and look for the FFF cross on your table.
- Turn up at the place at the time appointed and put the cross on the table so that other FFF readers can find you.
- Talk with whoever turns up about your life and your faith.
That’s all there is to it. Try it! See the board below for meeting times and places over the next few days.