The Light of a New Dawn
In the Gospel for this Third Sunday of Easter I hear an echo of the last line of the Gospel from Easter Sunday: For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The plaintive echo moves from the empty tomb to the road to Emmaus, where a despondent disciple picks it up and voices it to a stranger: We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel… He, Jesus, the one who was crucified, was that stranger; he was walking by their side. They did not yet understand; they could not see.
The Easter season offers us a radically hopeful perspective on our time of pandemic: for followers of Jesus, every moment of human history unfolds within the contours of a new “day” inaugurated by the coming of Christ. Heaven is breaking into time. As their journey continues, the Emmaus disciples invite Jesus to stay with them and, for a brief moment, they taste and see the depths of this new moment of their history. Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, risen from the dead, shares bread with them at what must have been a humble table in a humble little village.
Viewed another way, the pandemic is returning us to our humble origins as the Roman Catholic Church. We began in the shadows of confusion, doubt and sadness. We moved along a road and met the Lord not in the glorious environs of a place of worship (places where it might well have been dangerous for those early disciples to congregate), but in a home, at a table, where the Risen Lord has been invited in to break bread. As we shelter in place, the light of a new dawn, Jesus, is ready to enter and consecrate our homes.
Fr. Dan ofm, Pastor