Pastor’s Corner for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year A, by, Rev. Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
Our Gospel reading this Sunday offers us the paradigm for true Catechetical teaching in the spirit of Pope Francis. This Sunday we meet two disciples whose lives have been placed into turmoil. We meet them as they walk away from Jerusalem having just witnessed the crucifixion and death of Jesus. They are in grief and so upset that they cannot, or will not, recognize the Risen Lord who joins them in their walk—to them, Jesus is just the ‘stranger’. However, this ‘stranger’ can teach us so much: he is sensitive to their pain and hurt. For these two, journeying to their home in Emmaus, life is not full of resurrection joy. Under his gentle questioning, the Lord understands why they are downcast and hurting: their sadness is real because they have lost the greatest friend they have ever had; they have lost their Lord and savior. They have invested their whole being into the life, ministry, and teaching of Jesus—now all they see is emptiness and loss. It is important to note that Jesus listens carefully to his friends—he allows them to ask the difficult and challenging questions that we all must face. As we saw last week, true faith is not an easy road: we will all have times of doubt and worry, especially when we are under extreme pressure.
Having listened to their story, Jesus begins the greatest lesson: ‘starting with Moses and the prophets’ He explains that suffering and death is indeed part of the Messiah’s lot. We cannot be like Peter and the and the disciples on the road to Emmaus and conveniently airbrush out those times of pain and hurt that being a follower of Jesus involves. Our Christian faith is not a road full of roses where we can pick and choose the nice bits of Jesus’ life and teaching. As our journey through Lent has proved, the teaching of Jesus makes strong demands on us. This lesson made a deep impact on these two: it was not just an exchange of ideas or facts—this lesson transformed their lives as ‘their hearts were on fire’!
The encounter ends with the disciples inviting the stranger to join them. It is only at the table, with their offering of bread and wine that the disciples finally recognize the reality of the Risen Lord in their own home — ‘they knew him in the breaking of bread’. Jesus was with them on the road; it was that same Risen Lord who gave them the ultimate lesson, but it is only in their home, in their familiarity and peace from the horror of Calvary, that they can see who this stranger is. They realized that far too often, we do not hear God because we are too wrapped up in our own agenda or concerns. Too often we are too busy with the temporary, petty, and relatively superficial things of this world. In this sacred family space, Jesus comes to them.
Their response to this amazing revelation is not to bask in the fact that they are special, as they have received a personal epiphany from God. They ‘return to Jerusalem’, once the place of horror, grief, and despair, to share the good news that Jesus has indeed risen. This is what an encounter with the Lord does for us. In our Eucharist today, we are called to share that same enthusiasm—we are called to bring a Risen Lord into the lives of our families and friends. We are invited to turn our lives around—we are asked to make a real difference.
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele and Andrew Ledwaba.
Fr. N. Munekani SJ