Newsletter 18th April 2021 – 3rd Week of Eastertide
Today’s gospel reading picks up where the story about the disciples on the road to Emmaus leaves off. These two disciples walking to Emmaus, they are leaving Jerusalem and have their back to place where their dreams were shattered. They have just experienced the betrayal, denial, condemnation and death of their close friend, Jesus. As they walk along, they are talking about all the events that have just happened. Perhaps they are asking each other, ‘Where did it all go wrong?’ Why did we put so much hope and trust into this man called Jesus?
As they carry on their journey a stranger comes alongside them and asks them a simple and polite question; ‘What are you talking about as you walk along?’ They ask if he is the only one who does not know all things that have happened in Jerusalem. Again, this stranger asks them another question; ‘What things? He is interested in all the things that have happened to them. As they walk and talk, the stranger simply listens to them. He wants to hear their story. Only when they have told him all the things that have happened to them does he reveal his identity; he is the Risen Lord! Their eyes and hearts are opened as they listen to him speak and when they see him at the breaking of the bread.
We are walking along with each other as members of the Body of Christ. We are not alone. Jesus too, walks with us our journey as individuals and as a church. Jesus is deeply interested in our story. As we walk along on our journey through life, Jesus walks by our side as he walked along the road to Emmaus. He asks us to tell him our story and waits for us to share with what is deepest and most important to us. Having asked us to share our story with him, he walks by our side and listens. Each of us have a personal, unique and sacred story. Pope Francis reminds us of this when he says, ‘Each of us have a story; a story of grace, a story of sin, a story of journey, many things. It is good to pray with our story.’
When Jesus enters the room and all the disciples see him before them, resurrected from the dead, his wounds remain. Why doesn’t God make him new? In the sea of infinite choices God can make, why keep the wounds? How do we know Jesus better by his choice to remain marked by his human experience?
A wounded Jesus reaches out to his imperfect community, the same people who left him alone in his darkest hours of prayer prior to his arrest. Some fled, denied, and hid; others, maybe more painful still, witnessed his torture and death. All huddled together in grief over the loss of their Jesus. As we think of the Jesus that stands before the disciples, think of individuals, and whole groups of people, who experience suffering, hardship, injustice or sin that leaves marks, marks that leave an inescapable feeling that this harm can never be undone. They are forever changed from who they once were. They are wounded, broken; They will never be whole again. Does Jesus give us access to a hope that exists beyond this hurt?
That is what it means to be human. And that is a glimpse of the magnitude of Jesus’ choice to remain marked. Jesus chooses to bear the marks of life. He chooses to show, to acknowledge, to share his wounds. He chooses to reach out to his disciples—wounded—and surround himself with the imperfect community of those he loves. He gives us a way forward.
We need Christ’s wounds and our wounds in order to stay mindful of how much we are loved. It is hard to remember sweetness in our life because we have no scar to show for happiness.
2021 18th April Newsletter – Download
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