Reflection for April 26, 2000: Wednesday in the Octave of Easter.
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O'Leary, James, S.J.
The Liturgies of the Easter Octave are filled with joy and hope. We watch how Jesus deals with people in resurrected life knowing that that is the way He continues to treat us in our blindness. He seems, in resurrected accounts, to be going around collecting his friends, connecting and bringing peace to all. He is never harsh, never judgmental, nor severe.|In our gospel today, we see two men who are so much like most of us. They were told to stay in Jerusalem but we find them walking away on the way to Emmaus with desolate hearts. Jesus began to walk along with them, but they didn't recognize him. Mary Magdalene took Him for the gardener. At the Sea of Tiberias while fishing, the disciples again did not recognize the Lord. We are like them, too, because so often we don't recognize the Lord as He walks with us on life's journey. It is easy to look back a few years and see the Lord's presence in our life, but not in the present.|Jesus inquired about their conversation and they talked about Jesus and confessed that they were hoping that Jesus was the one who would set Israel free of the Roman Yoke. How Blind? Jesus redeemed the world and their myopic view missed it. We, too, hope for many things for ourselves, our families, for those we love but it doesn't turn out the way we hoped. Maybe Jesus is saying "Leave the results to me. Let me drive the bus." It seems none of our lives go as we had hoped or planned but as we look back, it worked out. The following prayer found on a confederate soldier catches God's presence in our lives. Prayer I asked God for strength, that I might achieve... I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do greater things... I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy... I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men... I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life... I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men, most richly blessed!|Continuing the story, Jesus explains the scripture about Himself and so the two men asked Jesus to tarry with them. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, and then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. We are all bread, we have been blessed and we've all been broken so that we can become a Eucharist and feed other people by our lives of faithful service. Only through our brokenness do we become a Eucharist and it is so often through the brokenness that Jesus works in us and through us.|Then the two men immediately went back to Jerusalem, back to their commitments, back to where they belonged. Their hearts, filled with desolation in the morning, give way to hearts of consolation after spending time with the Risen Lord. Lord give us the faith to believe you are with us in life's journey when we find it difficult to understand our road. Help us to be faithful and come to know you when our lives are broken.|Amen.|an e-mail response
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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