My brothers and sisters,
In this weekend’s Gospel from St. Luke the story of the Road to Emmaus once again communicates such a hopeful story. In this Eucharistic Encounter these two faithful followers of Jesus didn’t recognize Him along the way until the Breaking of the Bread. When their eyes were finally opened, they were full of excitement and rejoiced in His presence. In their eagerness to share their excitement, they return to Jerusalem to share their experience with the other disciples. When Jesus first encounters the two disciples along the way, they are downcast and upset for they are troubled by the crucifixion and death of their friend and teacher. They felt hopeless and lost because they “were hoping that He would be the one to redeem Israel” and they do not see how this Mission could come to pass with Jesus now dead. They feel troubled, abandoned and full of uncertainty.
In this time of quarantine and isolation, many of us are experiencing feelings of uncertainty, abandonment, loss – of freedom, of place, of community, possibly even loss of loved ones – and fear. As we journey together during this time, has Jesus been present to us? Have we “not been able to recognize Him?” As we prayed through Lent and rejoiced at Easter, were we open to the signs of hope and peace that God provided us? Although we have been prevented from gathering together physically, have we not grown stronger spiritually as a church community nonetheless; through sharing devotional prayer online, coming together for Sunday Masses, the Triduum, the Easter Vigil? We have seen the creativity and love of our neighbors and children through the pictures that have been shared on FaceBook and on our website. Neighbors have reached out to help each other in this time of need. While we have not been able to receive the Eucharist physically, through prayer and meditation we are able to experience the peace and hope that Christ’s Resurrection promises us. So, let us not be downcast and afraid but rather, let us rejoice and share our excitement that Jesus Chris is Risen and open our eyes with the our two faithful brothers on the road to Emmaus and recognize Christ is with us and He has always been with us… and like them realize that our hearts are burning within us because He continues to encourage us with a hope that He will indeed “SHOW US THE PATH OF LIFE” (Psalm 16)!!!
– Father Pagano