Homily 3rd Sunday of Easter 23rd April 2023
One of the most common scriptural images that is used to represent all of life, really, but most particularly the spiritual life, the life of grace, is the image of a journey. And it is an appropriate one. To go on a journey means to make a move. It means to leave something behind and set out for something else…something that may be unfamiliar, may be uncertain, may even be frightening. But the only way to get there, the only way to eliminate the uncertainty and the fear, is to make the move.
And that should be a familiar image, really, we are so often called to move out, to change our attitudes, our values, our ideas. That after all, is what it means to grow. And just as a journey that is not marked by movement can never be successful, so neither can a life that is not marked by growth. Truly, in every dimension of our lives, we have only two choices. Either we grow or something in us dies.
In the Gospel, those travellers on the road to Emmaus must have been two very sad, disillusioned men. And then, as they go along, they are joined by a stranger. Naturally enough they begin to talk to him about what is on their mind. At first it seems as though the conversation just isn’t going anywhere. It seems as though the stranger does not understand them, nothing he says helps all that much.
But finally, little by little, conversation becomes communication, and if nothing else, they become interested. And it is really at this point, as they end their physical journey, that they begin their spiritual, emotional journey. They begin to go through the painful process of leaving behind an old misunderstanding and opening themselves to the newness of the truth. I say they begin here. And begin is all that it is. They were interested, they were willing to talk a little bit about growth. But talk is all so far.
But finally the moment comes, as it inevitably does, when they are confronted with the reality of Christ present in our lives and the true nature of his mission. They did, the reading says, recognise him.
We too, are travellers, just as were the two in the Gospel. And so many times we, too make that journey full of plans and expectations that do not work out. We, too, are sometimes disappointed, disillusioned on our journey. But just as they were, we too, are called to recognise the companionship of Christ on the journey and to realise that in the light of that companionship our own misunderstandings and misdirections do not really mean very much. No journey made in the company of Christ can ever possibly be a failure, even if we end up far from where we expected to be when we set out. As long as we end up where he calls us to be the journey is worthwhile.