The two disciples of Jesus’ sent out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Each morning it is a joy for me to see the faces of the many people attending daily Mass; regardless of how early it is! This week I’ve been celebrating the two daily Masses (the 6:45 am and the 8:00 am) over here at St. Monica. Many faces are familiar; some are new. They start their day the best way possible, not with “Today” or “Morning Joe”; not with “Fox and Friends” or “Good Morning America”. Rather, they start their day “In the morning with the Eucharist”; in the morning with the Lord.
What a way to start your day! What a way to live your days. What a way to end all your days.
These friends of mine know they need the Lord. They know that daggers and dangers lurk just around the corner. Did not the lives of the disciples turn upside down over night; and then right-side up, overnight? Did they not go from sudden death to sudden life; from “my life has no meaning” to “my life in Christ”? What a difference a few days make! Am I prepared for midnight?
I look and see a world that was created out of love. I know that it was created out of love because it is full of life; and life is truly remarkable, especially when I look up and see a Universe that is dark and lifeless; a real hazard to my health. What separates all of us from the love of God? Answer: a very thin atmosphere. This is all that separates us from the immense darkness and coldness of space; from immediate death. Does not the same hold true for me? I know I am loved because here am I! I’ve made it. So what could possibly separate me from the love of God? What dark hole is eating away at me? What sin is consuming me? Will it be a bad day that eventually does me in?
The Lord, like life, has competition. He knows our enemies. While some enemies reside from afar, others, more dangerous ones, reside from within.
Our battle begins on a road that leads to Emmaus. There, we find two ex-disciples apparently fleeing Jerusalem because of the wrath of the chief priests and the rulers. But in reality, they are fleeing because of some preconceived notions. I like to think of preconceived notions as the Black Holes of the soul. They consume everything that is living. Nothing can stop them, except the end of time. Preconceived notions lead to fear and doubt; the killers of faith and hope. These two men think they know what happened to Jesus, but what they really think is that they know Jesus. They think they know all the facts, but they know only what they have seen and heard. And facts are more than that. They say they saw all the events that dreadful day with their very own eyes; which means, they saw nothing through the eyes of Christ. No wonder why they asked the stranger, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place?” And no wonder why the Lord said, “What sort of things?”
The fleeing disciples painstakingly explain to their "ignorant" guest all the “things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene”. They did so without once mentioning the words sin, grace, sacrifice, suffering, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, love and Lord. How sad! It would be like promoting or advocating “social justice” without once ever mentioning the name of Jesus Christ.
Preconceived notions can blind us from The Light, stifle us on The Way, hinder us from The Truth, and drive us away from The Life.
Let’s leave the road open to the Risen Lord.
P.S. During his trip to Cuba, Pope Benedict asked Fidel Castro if he could declare Good Friday a national holiday. The former communist ruler did not reply until after the Holy Father left the island. On Holy Thursday, and for the very first time, Cuban authorities declared Good Friday a national holiday.