Homily – April 26, 2020

We’ve heard today’s gospel story many times over the years. These two men were on their way home to Emmaus from Jerusalem after celebrating the great feast of Passover.

They were followers of Jesus. They heard Jesus preach and they heard of the miracles he’s worked among the sick and the lame.

They hoped Jesus would be the one who would redeem Israel. They hoped he would be the one who would save the Jewish people from Roman occupation….

Then it all came tumbling down. In a night and a day Jesus was betrayed by one of his own disciples and denied by another. He was arrested by the religious authorities and found guilty of blasphemy and condemned to death. The religious authorities pressures Pilate, a weak Roman authority to condemn Jesus to death by crucifixion.

Cleopas was amazed this man hadn’t known all this. ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem that does not know these things that have taken place? Their journey ends at the house of Cleopas and he invites Jesus to join him for supper and stay the night. During their long walk home this stranger explain to them that beginning with Moses and all the prophets the hidden message was that it was necessary that the longed for Messiah had to suffer all these humiliations and suffering as so enter into his glory.

In the midst of a simple meal sharing bread this stranger made himself known and they saw him as they never saw him before and then he was gone. They couldn’t wait to get back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples all that had happened.

Can we think on this? These two men opened their door/home to Jesus and welcomed him. Jesus in turn opened their hearts and minds to understand the ‘why’ of the humiliation and death of the one in whom they had hoped. They saw the Risen Christ.

What can happen to us when we open the door of our hearts to Christ and spend a time in prayer listening to what He has to say to us as we try to live life as He taught us? What can happen to us as we open the door of our minds and spent some time reading the Scriptures and come to see his great love for us and the challenges he puts before us?

What can happen to us when we open the door of our minds and hearts to total strangers? Strangers, who think differently, live differently, believe differently than we do?

What can happen in our lives when we open our minds and hearts to men and women of different cultures or faiths or life styles? What can happen to us when we open our minds to new insights into our Catholic faith? Jesus said, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock.’ Will take the risk and open our door to Christ as he comes to us in the scriptures and in strangers?