Reflections 26th April 2020

A Reflection for The Third Sunday of Easter

LK 24: 13-35 ( )

Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 26th, 2020.

I recall Angola in wartime when many missionaries found it a real challenge to celebrate Easter in the face of terrible suffering. However, the people wanted Easter in all its splendour a sense of resilience and confidence in face of danger.

In Ireland it is impressive how our best values came to the fore in the COVID-19 crisis, for example how ‘community call’ evoked a national effort to protect life at all costs, even shelving economic concerns.

At the beginning of Holy Week when I wrote this reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, it was an uncertain time of self-imposed seclusion. We were compelled to live in the moment, the here and now.  In Holy Week we contemplate Jesus’ death. “Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit”. (LK 23.46), as He surrenders to God’s providence. Many have died, we may know people who are struggling with the virus, and we may wonder how we ourselves would fare should we contract it. Lord, spare your people!

In today’s readings we get a full vista of the faith of Luke’s Gospel and Acts. Emmaus is the climax of the Jesus story, the moment of insight for the disciples; God, in Jesus, walks with us through life. Whatever the events and circumstances He is with us in them.

In the gospel text the disciples are anxious, afraid and disappointed that the Lord did not act as they expected. He ‘drew near’ them and ‘walked with’ them. He listens and interprets for them the meaning of the scriptures. They recognised Him. From then on, the story changes. No more looking for proof or having to be convinced but they went back to Jerusalem to tell their story. They are transformed into now being the bearers of this insight:

God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses . . .
He received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”

Our faith is incarnational, grounded in human reality of day-to-day living, not seeking miraculous intervention or evading the forces of nature but in living the human encounter in love of the other. It is in this, despite personal weaknesses or failure, that enables us recognise Jesus in our midst and find the fullness of life of which He speaks. The invitation is to recognise him in our lives.

During this pandemic we may have experienced fear or anxiety, we certainly have experienced restriction, uncertainty and isolation. Spare a thought and a prayer today for prisoners, those in migrant and refugee camps, those paralysed and dependent on others, and those trapped in situations with little power to change them.

Brendan Carr C.S.Sp. – Fr. Brendan missioned for many years in Angola.  In Ireland he has served on the leadership team, in pastoral and safeguarding roles and on the board of SPIRASI.