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May 4, 2014

After Easter break, the teacher wanted to testher students on how much they got from the Easter celebration. She said, “I’ll give $2 to any of you who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived.”

An Irish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St. Patrick.”  The teacher replied, “Sorry Sean, that’s not correct.”

Then a Scottish boy said, “It was St. Andrew.”  The teacher answered, “I’m sorry, Hamish, that’s not right either.”

Finally, a Jewish boy raised his hand and said, “It was Jesus, the Risen Christ.”  The teacher said, “That’s absolutely right, Marvin, come up here and I’ll give you $2.”

As the teacher was giving Marvin his money, she said, “You know Marvin, since you’re Jewish, I was very surprised you said “Jesus Christ.”  For this the boy replied, “Yeah, in my heart, I knew it was Moses, but business is business…”

Business is business… The CEO had been executed!  Staff scattered! The two employees on the way to Emmaus in this Sunday's Gospel saw Christ no more than a business CEO.  At the death of the Lord, they considered his as a history!  They closed the book before they read the last chapter.  They were heading back home to the old life.  No more Messiah.  They had lost their faith.  The whole Jesus thing was a fraud.  They were losers.  They were going back to a life of noisy desperation.  They left Jerusalem before they found out the true and triumphant events 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 Jesus asked them, “What is news, friends?”  They responded with a shock, “Mister, are you the only one in Jerusalem not reading the newspapers?  Are you the only one doesn’t have internet?  Are you not on Face Book?  Do you have a Twitter account? Do you have a cell phone?”  So, they brought the Resurrected Lord up to speed.  Then He explained to them what was written in the Scriptures and their hearts were burning and they prayed, “Stay with us, Lord…”  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 so-called followers of Christ make the same mistake today.  They walk away before the resurrection.  They question the first Easter.  They leave it out of their thinking, their living.  They are discouraged, disappointed about something or other in the Catholic Church or about the Pope, the priests or about certain groups in the parish 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 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 transform the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  What took place on the road to Emmaus takes place on this 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 burn within us.  We will not be closing the book before 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 and the joy of resurrection will follow us throughout our lives.  We pray for those who have lost their faith. We commend our deceased family members to the Risen Lord.  Alleluia, Alleluia!