3rd Sunday of Easter | April 26, 2020
See today’s readings here. This homily was preached online due to Covid-19. Video recordings of the Sunday evening Mass, where Fr. Brian regularly preaches, are available on Facebook at Delaware Koinonia. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found here: Salesian Sermons
So, I must admit, when I was younger, I was always somewhat confused by this Gospel.
Because I was always left with the somewhat obvious question.
How did they not notice Jesus when he was right there, talking to them, walking beside them?
I mean do you really forget what a guy looks like after just a few days?
I would convince myself that I would never be like those disciples. I would never miss Jesus when he was so obviously right there, right in front of me.
And yet, today, I find I have a lot more sympathy and understanding for these two disciples.
For the journey they were on was a journey marked by grief, marked by anxiety, marked by fear.
And having been on my share of those journeys over the last few years, I can appreciate how this grief does strange things to your heart.
How it narrows your vision
How it constricts your perspective.
How it weighs you down, eyes fixed on your feet as you struggle to place one foot in front of another.
And when you are on that journey of grief, it is amazing what you miss. Particularly the presence of God still active in your life. The face of Christ still present beside you on the journey.
Maybe it is providential that this is the Gospel reading during this time in which we all find ourselves grieving something, fearing something, anxious over something.
It can be the smallest of the things . . . the gray hairs that have multiplied since our last hair appointment or the date night without children that we haven’t been able to have or the simple pleasure of being able to visit a friend and share a cup of coffee in their living room that we aren’t able to do.
Or it can be the crushing weights that are suddenly slung across our shoulders. The job that got furloughed. The senior whose spring season never got to happen. The loved one who dies without family around them. The diagnosis that comes back positive.
But amidst all this grief and fear and anxiety, it is easy to miss our God along the way. It is easy to miss the face of Christ, even when right beside us.
I realized this over the past week.
For I don’t know. Maybe it was the gloomy weather. Maybe it was the fact that schools were officially closed for the rest of the year. Or maybe it was the fact that I just couldn’t take one more Zoom meeting, but I was a bit down.
But then I had an impromptu meeting of about 10 juniors. No agenda. No objective. Just an opportunity to be with each other.
And in all of the laughs and the story-telling and the gentle ribbing that is life at an all-boys school, I suddenly saw Christ so clearly.
Christ in the faces of each of those young men.
And in that lightbulb moment, I began to see and hear Christ all around me.
In all the faces of my colleagues as we gather together each week to figure out another week forward.
In my Oblate brothers as we gather for dinner, swapping stories of our past as we live in our present and plan for our future.
In my grocery clerk who somehow found another 100 stamps for me, despite the line of customers and constant stress he is under,
In the voices of graduates and friends and family as we chat on the phone, lifting one another up as we continue on this roller coaster.
See my friends, I believe that this is the true gift of Easter. The gift of Christ’s abiding presence among us.
No matter where on the journey we find ourselves.
May we each have the ability this week to lift up our eyes and see the God who is right here beside us. Promising to walk right next to us until whatever horizons await.
May God be Praised.