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