April 30, 2017
A young Nun named Sr. Margaret Mary, who worked for a local home health care agency was out making her rounds when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it there was a gas station just one block away. She walked to the station to borrow a can with enough gas to start the car and drive to the station for a fill up. The attendant regretfully told her that the only gas can he owned had just been loaned out, but if she would care to wait he was sure it would be back shortly.
Since the nun was on the way to see a patient she decided not to wait and walked back to her car. After looking through her car for something to carry to the station to fill with gas, she spotted a bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful, she carried it to the station, filled it with gasoline, and carried it back to her car. As she was pouring the gas into the tank of her car, two men watched her from across the street. One of them turned to the other and said: "If that car starts, I'll become a Catholic!"
Every year, thousands of people have become members of the greatest family of the Catholic Church, including many in our parish. Some of them witness a miracle in their life, but most of them are attracted to the Catholic Church through the daily miracle: the Eucharist, very much like the two disciples who were on the way to Emmaus on Easter Sunday.
At the death of the Lord, his disciples considered him as history! They closed the book before they read the last chapter. They were heading back home to a normal life. No more Messiah, no more salvation. They had lost their faith. The whole Jesus thing was a fraud. They were losers. They left Jerusalem before they found out the true and triumphant event of that first Easter Sunday. Then a stranger appeared to them from nowhere and in their sadness they even did not recognize their former employer.
The stranger politely asked them, “What is the news, friends?” They responded with a shock, “Mister, are you the only one in Jerusalem not reading the newspapers?” So, they brought the Resurrected Lord up to speed. The Risen Lord took an opportunity to explain to them through the Scriptures and their hearts were burning. Notice this that his homily was about 3 hours (11 kilometre walk) so do not be upset when your priest preaches longer than 10 minutes! And at the table “…he took the bread and said the blessing…” Are we talking about the Eucharist? St. Augustine and the Catholic Church said affirmative. Many modern exegetes say negative. Pay your money and pick your choice.
Some Christians make the same mistake today. They walk away before knowing the facts. They are discouraged, disappointed about something or other in the Catholic Church or about the Pope, or their unworthy pastor and they start walking away. The saddest point is that they walk away from the very thing that will help them out of their confusion and their discouragement. They walk away from the church community. They walk away from the Mass, the surest cure for all their troubles.
In the Eucharist, first we read the Word of God in the Bible, explaining how all of it refers to Christ. In the second part of the Holy Sacrifice we break the bread, in the power of the Holy Spirit we change the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. What took place at Emmaus takes place on the altar every time Mass is celebrated. Like the two disciples we meet the Risen Lord here. Like the two disciples we will be happy. Our hearts will be burning within us. We will not be closing the book before reading the last chapter of the story of Christ as do those who fail to make the resurrection a vital part of their thinking and living.
If we renew our faith in the risen Lord at every Mass, then the joy of Easter, the joy of resurrection will follow us throughout our lives. We pray for those who have lost their faith. We welcome the newcomers into our community. We commend our deceased family members to the Risen Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia!