Friday, May 6, 2011

Mgr de Laval - Friday of the Second Week of Easter - Sunday's Emmaus Gospel -

Aujourd’hui. L’Église du Canada fête son premier évêque, le Bienheureux François de Montmorency Laval (1623-1708).  Il est la pierre d'angle de l'Église canadienne et de la propagation de la foi chrétienne en Amérique du Nord. Premier évêque d’Amérique, il est le fondateur du Séminaire de Québec. Les institutions qu'il a fondées avec la puissance de sa foi continuent de faire rayonner amour, lumière et espérance.

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Friday following the Second Sunday of Easter
O God, hope and light of the sincere, we humbly entreat you to dispose our hearts to offer you worthy prayer and ever to extol you by dutiful proclamation of your praise. Through our Lord

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Third Sunday of Easter (Year “A”) – May 8, 2011

[Texts: Acts 2.14, 22-28; (Psalm 16); 1 Peter 1.17-21; Luke 24.13-35]

In the Newman Centre at the University of Toronto hangs a beautiful icon of the Journey to Emmaus. Crafted by Sister Marie Paul, a Benedictine Sister of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the icon features two aspects of this “appearance” of the Risen Christ: the journeying part and the supper at sunset. Above the images are the evocative words, “Were not our hearts gradually catching fire within us as he spoke to us on the road?'”

A striking feature in the icon is the interpretation of the journeying pair as a couple, husband and wife. This says that at the core of marriage, the state of life to which God calls most people, spiritual sharing holds an important place. And that in sharing every aspect of a person's life, which marriage demands, Christ is truly present, even if in a veiled manner.

From Luke's account, what we know about the identity of the travellers is that one of the disciples was named Cleopas. We are not told the name of Cleopas' fellow disciple? Perhaps Luke deliberately left this disciple unnamed so that each reader or hearer might see himself or herself in the story.

You see, Christ is discovered to be present where spiritual sharing takes place between friends. This truth is expressed in another saying of Jesus, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Matthew 18.20). So, Christ is present among us today. And he journeys with us on the road of our lives.

A key part of the story is the travellers' inability to identify the stranger. The discovery of Jesus happens through a fresh understanding of the prophecies of his resurrection.

The dramatic concealment may also illustrate the truth that people can know the presence of the risen Lord without being able to see him. For we Christians are convinced that this reality occurs every week at the Sunday celebration of Eucharist.

The stranger joins the travellers going to Emmaus and links their recent experiences of the “Jesus movement” with the Scriptures they knew. They described Jesus of Nazareth as “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people”. They mentioned their hope that Jesus might be the Messiah: “we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel”.

Then they told of their disappointment: their leaders condemned him to death and had him crucified. Even their knowledge that the tomb was discovered empty and an angelic message had been received could not convince them that Jesus was alive. It seemed only to heighten the tragedy.

Jesus' introduction of an interpretation of the Scriptures that allows for suffering as part of God's plan stirs the first glimmers of hope in their breasts.

“Was it not necessary—was it not God's will—that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures.

We see in the Acts of the Apostles how the early church community learned to read the Scriptures in the light of Christ's death and resurrection. This joyful news causes disciples' hearts to burn within them today. And even now we recognize Jesus in the “breaking of the bread”. May this be so, not only today, but all our lives!

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