Speak Lord: help us listen…

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Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

Luke 24: 13-35

The Gospel on the third Sunday in Ordinary time has proved such an important narrative for helping Christians to reflect on the way in which we learn our faith; understand the Mass; offer catechesis to others; accompany people in their life in faith.

It is also a wonderful testimony to the gentleness of Jesus in accompanying us, patiently waiting for the penny to drop; gently assisting us to know him, and more than know him, know his importance for us, and renew, deepen, our trust in him, and ourselves.

Which part of the story presently resonates most strongly with you?

  • The despair?
  • The experienced of being pressed to dialogue?
  • Of learning from the Scriptures?
  • Of finding Christ in the Sacraments?
  • Of being called to mission?

Bring your experience to the Lord and speak with him about it. ‘Listen’ for his response…

Stained glass. Hampstead parish church. (c) 2007, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Peace and trust

Emmaus, Arles

The Gospel reading on Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Easter, is the sequel to the reading of the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and their encounter with the risen Lord.

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.

Luke 24:35-48

Two remarkable things about this account. The first is the eagerness of the disciples to share the good news with others – or at least among themselves, in this case. The second is how despite knowing him risen the disciples find themselves paralysed and incapable.

  • When did you last bear witness to the mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection?
  • What causes you to pause and stumble in your life as a Christian?

Bring the fruit of your reflection in prayer to the Lord

Image of Emmaus from St Trophime, Arles. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Come close…

emmaus 5

Sunday is the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time. The responsorial psalm at Sunday’s Mass reminds of the closeness of the Lord.

The Lord is close to all who call him.

I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.
The Lord is great, highly to be praised,
his greatness cannot be measured.

The Lord is close to all who call him.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

The Lord is close to all who call him.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

The Lord is close to all who call him.

Psalm 144:2-3,8-9,17-18

That closeness of the Lord, of the loving, just and merciful Lord, is a precious gift. So often in our daily lives – let alone in the moments of extraordinary testings – reversals, losses, challenges, and joys! – to know that we are not facing them alone, gives a new strength and endurance.

The response to the psalm affirms the Lord’s closeness to those who call him. Thank God that he is close even when we forget to call!

The photograph is of a sculpted piece depicting the Emmaus story. Saved from the ‘net some eight years ago, I think it comes from Switzerland!