The Way

Easter Sunday – Cycle A
Gospel: Mt 28:1-10

Pilgrim Church, Pilgrim People
In the Gospel there are two disciples who are walking on the way to Emmaus. St. Luke chooses this word “Way” intentionally. In ancient times Christians were known as the “People of the Way”. This is because in the early Church the Christians were often on the road, as pilgrims or as missionaries. For this reason, St. Luke knows that the “Way” is a symbol for the Church – which is us, God’s Holy People. We have been called a pilgrim church because we are on a journey through life to heaven.

The disciples had lost all hope
In the beginning of the Gospel the two disciples have lost all hope. They knew that Christ was God’s chosen one. They knew that Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit and they knew that Jesus was the one whom God had sent to save them from their sins; but their experience of Good Friday showed them that they were wrong. God’s plan was wrecked, in shambles. How could they have been so wrong about Jesus? They couldn’t stand the pain and they just had to get away.

So they were walking away from it all – time to start over.
The two disciples in the Gospel today are walking away from the greatest disaster of their entire lives. Their hopes have been crushed so completely, that they were abandoning their community, the Church and leaving.

We too were walking away until God called us to be here today
How many of us here today know that we are not walking on the path that Christ has called us to? How many of us here are downcast? Not every road we take is the journey that God called us too. Sometimes our sin, our actions that hurt God and our brothers and sisters lead us to walk this way alone, downcast, lacking all hope. It is at these times that Christ comes to walk with us as he did those two disciples on the way to Emmaus.

How are we going to respond to his invitation to dialog?
Will we ignore him? Will we engage him? Will we be real with him or lie to him?
It does not matter what road we took to get here this morning. At the heart of Christ’s message is the fact that “God loves you!” When Jesus met the two disciples in the Gospel today he did not judge them, he did not condemn them, he began to speak with them. Jesus took his time to speak to them about their problems, their fears and their failures. He listened to them first, and then slowly and gently began to teach them what had really happened during these last three days. How he offered himself up to God as a sacrifice for their sins, how he had died, and yet had risen from the dead.

Emmaus was not an accident
It was not by accident that Christ met these two disciples on the road. He knew that they were in the depths of despair, and that they needed his companionship.

We are not here by accident either
It is not by accident that we are here today. Some of us haven’t been here for a while, some have been here regularly for many decades. The truth is each of us is seeking a deeper friendship with Christ. We are all need his friendship because he is able to embrace our suffering and pour into our wounds His healing love.

How can we meet Jesus on the Way?
The Gospel today teaches us that there are three steps to this daily encounter with the resurrected Christ; Prayer, Scripture and the Eucharist.

1. Prayer – When Jesus met the two disciples on the road, he first listened to them explain their problems. We can do this by taking time to pray with Christ each morning this Easter. We can start our days with a short time (maybe five or ten minutes) before getting out of bed to share our needs and worries of the day with Christ in prayer. This needs to be an honest sharing of what is on our hearts for the day, our plans and worries. Just a short note, hitting the snooze alarm and then falling back to sleep does not count as prayer. If that is a struggle for you, then pray over a hot cup of coffee!

2. Scripture. After Jesus heard their concerns he spoke with them, using Scripture. He went through all of scripture and pointed out to the disciples how the Word of God spoke about him. The secret to scripture is to listen to God. We can’t live our lives by always telling God what we need if we don’t also take time to listen to him. Set aside some time (at lunch, or after work, or in the evening) to be present to Jesus in the scriptures. If you are looking for a place to begin then consider the Acts of the Apostles; it is the story of the early Church. After reading a little part of scripture then take time to pray in order to give God thanks for all of his gifts that he has given to you.

3. Eucharist. After speaking and listening to God the disciples in the Gospel encountered Christ in the Breaking of the Bread. They became aware of His presence and grace when He gave them Himself – His Body and Blood in Holy Communion. Some of us might not be able to receive Holy Communion. If we are living in a state of sin then it is easy to rejoin the Lord’s table, all we need to do is to repent (that means to see that we are on the wrong road and change our lives), confess, and invite Christ more deeply into our lives! Jesus died on the Cross to share His Body and Blood with us. When we receive Him in Holy Communion we enter into the heart of God.

Which way will we choose?
Brothers and Sisters, it does not matter what road we were on this morning when we came to celebrate Easter. What matters is the road that we choose when we leave here. Will we just return to our old ways of sin and death, or will we choose a new way – the way that sets our hearts on fire with the love of God?



Easter Vigil – Cycle A
Gospel: Mt 28:1-10

What is the most incredible sight you have ever seen?
Take a moment and pause and think – what has been the most awe-inspiring, beautiful, powerful overwhelming thing you have ever seen?


Watching the Birth of my kids
Watching the birth of each of my children has been one of the awe-inspiring events of my life. I remember how each of them was born, some naturally, others by cesarean section. Yet every time I was amazed with the beauty of new life that God creates.

The truly awe-inspiring events are celebrated with ritual
We like to remember awe-inspiring events like these. We celebrate our birthdays with parties, our anniversaries with a special dinner. For each of us these are days we remember the magnificence of God’s gifts. We use ritual, a birthday party, an anniversary dinner to celebrate the significant events of our lives.

Tonight we remember the most awe-inspiring event in the history of the world. That is why tonight we participate in this special celebration. We do this because the truly incredible things of this life cannot be remembered, they must be experienced, they must be lived.

The heart of Christ must be experienced – it must be breathed!
Christ’s victory over sin and death is so great, so profound that it cannot be described, it must be experienced. That is why tonight we celebrate with great ritual – with fire and incense, with story and song, water and perfumed oil, and the bread and wine that become Christ’s Body and Blood.

We experience God’s love tonight with all of our senses:

- When the Easter Candle entered the Church, we saw with our eyes that Christ is the Light of the World, and the light of our hearts.

- When the Church filled with incense we could smell the beauty of our prayer rising up to God.

- When the story of our sin and salvation was read, we heard with our ears the greatness of God’s love.

- Kimberly, Marnila, Yajaira, Divine, Anjelina, Evelyn and Arath will feel the cleansing power of Christ’s cross as water is poured over them and God enters into their souls through Baptism.

- We will experience Christ when we eat His Body and drink His Blood as He shares His life with us in the Holy Eucharist.

Walking in the garden
Let’s use our imaginations to plunge back through time to that first Easter morning. Imagine that we are walking early on that morning the first day of the week with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of St. James the Less). It is dark, with just the briefest glimmer of the pre-dawn as we walk through the garden. The grass is damp with dew, and the morning air is a little brisk. The world is quiet, but we are filled with fear. Who will roll away the stone? Will the soldiers allow us to anoint Christ’s body? Will they interfere with us? All of our fears are mingled with grief and sadness and despair – God’s chosen one has been slain, God’s plan is ruined. Will He ever save His people? Will He ever save you and I?

The Garden is a cemetery, filled with those dead because of sin.
The garden that we are walking in is a graveyard, it is a place filled with tombs. All around us the dead lie in their graves. We can relate to their perspective as well. We are not dead, but all of us are trapped in some way by our sin. We find ourselves paralyzed with fear, trapped in the cold hardness of our heart in some relationship or addiction. The Devil has us trapped in here, with the weight of a heavy stone rolled across the entrance and guards outside to prevent us from ever escaping from our tombs of sin.

In a flash the obstacles are gone
Then there is a flash of lightning, the earth shakes. When the Mary’s recover they see the work of God – The soldiers are paralyzed with fear, the stone is moved aside and they see the angel of God who points to the empty tomb and he says “Do not be afraid”. In a flash God sends His angel to remove all obstacles for us.

Experiencing God’s love is the reason for our joy!
If we are like those trapped in the grave then we can leap up with joy! God comes to judge us with Love, with mercy and with grace to bring us out of the grave. Brothers and Sisters, for the last six weeks we have prayed and fasted and given alms to help us to battle these sins. Tonight we rejoice because God has answered our prayers and sent His Son to free us from the death of our sin!

Go and spread the good news!
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left “very quickly” and began to make the angels words reality. As soon as they acted on the angels words they encountered Jesus. When we go out to spread the Good News we encounter the Risen Christ. The Good News that they carried with them is that Death is not the end, and that there is freedom from sin, freedom from death. They ran with swiftness and joy to share the liberation of us all.

Christ is Risen from the Dead, go and tell the world, for He goes ahead of you and will meet you on the way. Christ is risen from the dead – go and live the Gospel so that our lives give witness to the most incredible thing!