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GOD’S PLANS ARE SO DIFFERENT FROM OURS

Father Francis's picture
The Octave of Easter

Acts. 3:1-10 & Lk. 24:13-35

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had been badly shaken by the events of the last few days. They had courageously left home and family to follow the Lord, listened to His words, witnessed His miracles and even preached in His name. They had expected Jesus to be the longed-for Messiah. And it was precisely at the moment Jesus referred to as "His hour", when He was accomplishing His greatest work, that these disciples broke with Him. What went wrong? God worked in a way and with a power these disciples had not expected, and which they did not accept. The Cross and suffering had not entered into their plans. A gloriously triumphant path they could accept, but not a crucified Lord. And so, they are on their way back home, back to their old lifestyle, hopes shattered and faces downcast. Their conversation was a self-pitying reconstruction of events, without faith, without a sense of God, sunken in their own sorrow.

They were so centred on their own woes and wounds that they do not recognise Who walked alongside them. Feeling sorry for themselves does not help them go to God, but only immerses them further in their own impotence. What breaks through this situation? Jesus by making these two malcontents look at God’s plans for Himself invites them to look more deeply at their own circumstances. Reflecting on what God had planned for Jesus, and not our own broken plans and limited hopes, is what begins to open the door to reborn hope. Why do you fail to grasp what the Scriptures wrote about Me? While Jesus spoke to them their hearts were burning with love. Is that not how we should feel when we read the Scriptures?

The story of Jesus and these two disciples points the finger at us and sheds light on our own situation. Their distress is ours in many ways and their sadness sounds familiar to our ears. How many times have we walked the road to Emmaus with downcast face occasioned by quarrels in the home, difficulties at work or the loneliness of being rejected? The troubles and worries of life can so crowd our minds that we lose our sense of direction, and are brought to the point of despair. All the time we forget that Jesus is walking with us, at our side ready and anxious to help us if only we would turn to Him for guidance, in those moments of quiet desperation.

This is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of recognizing the Lord's presence in our lives. Only we do this by going closer to Him through daily prayer and Scripture reading. We encounter the Lord amidst the ordinariness of human life, in the relationships we establish as we work and share in our various activities.

At each Sunday Mass Jesus invites to relive the Emmaus experience as we share the Eucharist with Him. We bring to Mass the joys and sorrows of the week that has gone and Christ speaks to us as He spoke to those disciples. He will throw light on every moment of joy and show that every suffering we experience has the purpose of motivating us to live a deeply religious life. As we share in the breaking of bread at Mass we can pray to have our eyes opened, to see beyond the sufferings of human living, to the joy that is all around us and ahead of us.

Although the disciples did not recognise Jesus as He unfolded the Scriptures about Himself, nevertheless their hearts were burning with love and excitement. Would it not be a thrill if, whenever we came to Mass, we could say the same thing? Comparing their feelings with ours makes us aware of the difference. Sadly we can so easily take for granted the sacred action in which we participate because we witness many earthly wonders every day and fail to thank God for them. Let us never take the wonder of the Mass, the greatest treasure of our life, for granted!

Lord Jesus, make us aware that You always walk by our side and that as long as we are in conversation with You, even without us realizing it, there is always hope for our salvation.

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