Homily for The 3rd Sunday of Easter 18th April 2021:
“The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road”.
These are the words that open today’s Gospel.
This is the story of the two disciples who had been on a journey to Emmaus.
Their story was a story about many things.
Their story was a story about (1) The Eucharist; about (2) Hope; about (3) Healing; about (4) Hospitality; about (5) Fear and (6) The presence of a Stranger who opened up for them the possibility of a new way of living.
Easter is a time of HOPE and a time of JOY.
During the Easter Season we encounter an abundance of meetings with the Risen Lord. Sometimes he is recognised and at other times He goes unrecognised.
Very often the early disciples were very unsure of what was happening. Even though they wanted to believe the good news of the Resurrection, there were many times they couldn’t, because their faith was so shattered and broken by what had happened on Good Friday.
They allowed themselves to remain imprisoned by death and defeat.
Jesus asks an important question in this mornings Gospel. He asks the question
“Why are you so agitated? Why are these doubts rising in your hearts?”
Cannot each one of us so easily hear those questions and take them to heart?
How often as we go about our lives each day, we can be overcome and burdened by so many doubts and agitations.
So often our plans fail; our hopes are dashed and all seems lost.
So often we can feel powerless and that our lives are unmanageable.
For the past 14 months or so these feelings and emotions have to a greater or lesser extent consumed the lives of so many as the PANDEMIC of COVID 19 has brought ISOLATION; FEAR; LONLINESS and many other negative emotions into life.
It is at times like these that we need a Higher Power in our lives.
It is at times like these that we need Faith; it is at times like these we need GOD.
Easter assures us that God walks with us. Easter tells us that we are never alone.
Easter assures us that the Risen Lord “draws near to us” and he does so in our times that are fragile, fear filled and uncertain.
The apostles in those early post Resurrection days are there as a source of hope and encouragement to us and they do us a great service when we see that they too had their difficulties; their doubts and their fears.
We have a blessing in our lives that the early disciples just after the Resurrection didn’t have; we have the blessing of The Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost just after The Lord’s Ascension.
We received God’s Spirit at our Baptism and that Spirit was renewed at our Confirmation.
That Spirit brings such gifts as COURAGE; WISDOM; RIGHT JUDGEMENT into our lives.
By acknowledging the presence of The Spirit in our lives then there should be no room for fear or anxiety because what the Spirit brings is the opposite; The Spirit brings PEACE; JOY; LOVE; GOODNESS and FAITHFULNESS into our lives.
By living in the Spirit doubts and fears will disappear; they cannot co-exist.
Yes, the question Jesus asks today is real and always timely
“Why are you so agitated; Why are these doubts rising in your hearts?”
Let us acknowledge and know that doubts and fears are part of being human’
But there is something that is greater than fear and doubt and that something is FAITH and TRUST.
The FAITH and TRUST that is EASTER.
Sometime ago I came across a saying
“God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves”
But there is an addition to this saying …… “if only He were asked”
“They told their story of what had happened on the road”
As we continue our journeys on the road of life and as we tell our stories – it is ok to be agitated and to have doubts – however, do not let the doubts and the fears have the final say.
We have a SOLUTION to the difficulties of life.
The SOLUTION walks besides us – sometimes unrecognised.
The solution is CHRIST.
THE RISEN CHRIST.
“We are His people the sheep of His flock”.
As an Easter People “this is the day that The Lord has made”
“Let us rejoice and be glad”.