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Posts Tagged ‘Emmaus disciples’


Matthew 27:1-2Standing before Pilate

Monday, November 12, 2018

Antonio Ciseri: Ecce homo

Today’s Gospel (Luke 24:35-48) is the second half of the Emmaus story.  The disciples who fled Jerusalem in order to escape chaos return to share their story of the Risen Christ.  They want to tell their beleaguered friends that the one who stood accused before Pilate had returned anew.  The plot of Judas and the church leaders that had once looked so successful now seemed a failure.  The world had turned upside down – just as Jesus had predicted – and the grief they had felt had now turned to joy.  As they tell their story, Jesus enters their midst as if to verify their incredible words: The one who stood before Pilate not only lives but he eats and breathes and wants to calm their fears.  His first words to them are: Peace be with you.  And then the story continues: But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.  Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?  And why do questions arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.  Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”  And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

This was no ghost.  Jesus was not conjured up from their hysteria or imagination.  This was real.  The one who appeared to fail had overcome.  He still bore the marks of his terrible death; yet this death had no effect upon him.  The builder’s stone that had been rejected was now a strong foundation.  And this same conversion and redemption are offered to each of us . . . Jesus’ sisters and brothers.

I am thinking of how difficult it must have been to stand before Pilate as Jesus did to suffer and die for someone else’s sake.  I am thinking of how joyful it must have been a few short days later to enter into a room of dear friends to assure them that all was well.

When we are faced with difficult decisions we do not want to make, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

When we are the lone witness to injustice and violence, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

When we feel abandoned by family and friends, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

When everything in us wants to run, wants to defend, wants to go to any means to survive, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

On this Easter Thursday if we ask: Are we willing to stand before Pilate as Jesus does?  What will be our response?


A favorite from Easter Thursday, April 28, 2011, re-posted on October 10, 2011.

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecce_homo 

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Mark 16:9-15: A Prayer for Unbelief 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

José de Ribera: The Penitent Magdalene or Vanitas

In this second week of Eastertide, as we conclude our exploration of Easter Week Gospel readings, we challenge ourselves to decide where we stand in the Easter story. How many times does Christ approach us to share the good news that our freedom is won? How often do we panic because we have forgotten the Easter miracle of restoration? How frequently do we give thanks to God for the goodness in our lives and then turn to go out to share this good news?

Now after [Jesus] rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. 

We may be the mourning Mary who experiences rejection when she shares her hope-filled story with others, or we may be those who scoff at her joy.

After this [Jesus] appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

We may be the Emmaus disciples who spend a day and share a meal with the risen Christ, or we may be those who are content in their skepticism.

Later [Jesus] appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

We may be one of the eleven who huddle in the upper room, afraid to leave and afraid to stay, persisting in our unbelief. Or we may take in Christ’s rebuke, and then go out to join all of creation in praising God.

And [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”

We may be one of those who persists in the bitterness of disappointment, or one who neither doubts nor believes but who chooses to stand in some in-between world of detachment.

Today, as we consider that Christ leaves not one of his sheep behind, let us choose to believe the Easter miracle and take up Christ’s gift of new-born joy rising from pain. Let us admit that we have the freedom to choose to ignore or to react to Christ’s presence in our lives. And let us put aside our unbelief to join all of creation in praise of God’s persistent love. And so we pray.

Good and gentle Jesus, you know what to say to us so that we might believe. We thank you for your hope. 

Gracious and generous God, you meet our fears with your mighty persistence. We thank you for your fidelity.

Giving and merciful Spirit, you calm our fears and soothe our anxieties. We thank you for your love.

Amen.


Today’s verses are from the NRSV translation of Mark’s Gospel. When we open other translations, we also open ourselves to Easter belief.

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/ , http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/roadtoemmaus.htm and http://www.beliefnet.com/espanol/20-asombrosas-palabras-de-jesus-para-ti.aspx?p=9

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Isaiah 52-53: Servant Work

James Tissot: Mordecai

Good Friday, March 30, 2018

The second part of Isaiah’s prophecy, the Book of Consolation, contains clear instructions for what to do when we are deeply troubled, for when we believe that we do not fully understand God’s plan, for when we feel abandoned by God. Verse 20 with its imagery of children caught in a net is particularly troublesome; but the image of our enemies drinking from the bowl of wrath that they themselves have brewed, quickly follows. This image reminds us of Haman in the story of Esther. As a successful servant of King Xerxes, Haman displays jealousy of Mordecai, a Jewish man whom Xerxes respects and values. Upset that Mordecai worships the One God, Haman fumes when Mordecai will not bow in homage to him. Haman plots a genocide of the Jews, and he erects a gallows in front of his house so that he may witness Mordecai’s execution. Later we discover that it is Haman and his family who are executed on this gallows.

So when we are fear-filled, we must remember to ask God’s grace, patience, and wisdom, to discern God’s hand in all that happens around us.  We try to follow the example that Jesus has shown us, we abide in the faith that God knows all and keeps promises, and we pray intercessory prayers for those who do us damage.

See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.  Even as many were amazed at him – so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals – so shall he startle nations.

James Tissot: The Council the Morning of Good Friday

As faithful servants, we strive not for perfection but for persistence. We cannot expect to live life unscathed, rather, we strive to reach the potential God has placed in us.  The faithful servant wears the scars of existence and lives along the margins of life. This servant does not seek comfort in the physical world, nor does this one stay long in the heady turmoil of power, fame and wealth.  The true servant meets God’s mercy and grace through the pain and suffering of life.  The true servant knows that she finds serenity in God and not in the superficial satisfaction of grudges long held or of worldly battles soundly won.  This is the mystery of Christ, and it is the mystery to which we are called.  We are created to be servants to one another, servants of God.

On this Good Friday, we remember that Mary Magdalene in the cemetery garden and the apostles on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Christ in the early moments of his return . . . so transformed was he . . . so momentous was the transition from one life to the next.

This one who is God himself comes to meet us through the woe of our living.

This one who is God himself comes to meet us through the miseries of our existence.

This one who is God himself graces us with his healing touch.

This one who is God himself knows the intimate detail of our suffering.

This one who is God himself loves us so much that he will go wherever we are . . . sit with us no matter who we are . . . walk with us no matter where we go. This love knows no limit.  This love leads us to joy.

Servant work is difficult.  Servant work is frustrating.  Servant work is humbling.  Servant work is a gift.  Servant work is the only work truly worth doing.  Servant work is the work of Christ.  As servants, we want to Awake, awake and put on our glorious garments of celebration.  We want to shake off the dust, ascend to the throne with Christ where the bonds will be loosed from around our necks.  We come forth, to depart, to set our feet upon the path of our journey with God as our faithful rear guard.  We answer the call we hear . . . for it is the Servant Song, the song of the true, faithful servant.


Adapted from a reflection written on January 14, 2010.

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Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus – Part III

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Paul Gustave Doré: Jesus and the Disciples Going to Emmaus

We know that Christ walks with us each as we move along our pilgrimage way to the Easter resurrection. Would Christ speak to us as he speaks to the Emmaus disciples? Would he find us as open and as blind as the Emmaus believers? And would he linger with us even as we linger with him?

We look at THE MESSAGE translation of Jesus’ words to his disciples, and we explore our own connection with Christ.

So thick-headed! So slow-hearted!

Do we see ourselves as open or closed to the Good News story that everyone is a child of God, everyone is saved, everyone is healed?

Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said?

Do we resist the kingdom with great vigor and ignore the message of life with studied nonchalance?

Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?

Do we step away from obstacles and move toward comfort?

Then [Jesus] started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

The Nain Brothers: The Supper at Emmaus

Do we spend time with Scripture or decide that our days are too busy, our nights too long to turn to the simple words inspired by the Spirit?

Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?

Like the Emmaus disciples, do we recognize the one who lives and teaches among us? Do we return to Jerusalem to share both joy and tribulation with those who know the Easter story? And do we allow our Emmaus conversion to last a lifetime of hoping and loving in Christ?

When we compare various translations of the Emmaus story, we open our hearts to the sorrow and joy of the Easter story.

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Deuteronomy 30:11-14 & Luke 24:13-35: An Eternal Promise eucharist-5

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Eucharist: Thanksgiving represented in the gift of bread and wine we receive each time we share in Jesus’ liturgy. As Jesus gives thanks to the creator when he multiplies fish and loaves of barley, so too are we called to give thanks when we share in Christ’s presence in Eucharist.

For this command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. 

From the oldest stories of the Torah to the new life described in the Gospels, God has in mind a plan for our redemption. We are created in God’s image and we are given the freedom to choose a life of truth and light. At times we are able to follow Christ. At other times we betray his goodness and generosity. In his great love, Christ is patiently and repeatedly turning back for his lost sheep. The promise of the Old Covenant and the miracles of the Old and New Testament are continual reminders of this promise.

Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? 

In Deuteronomy God asks the faithful to love with a whole heart, whole mind and whole body. In the last words of Luke’s Gospel we hear and see the testimony of the Emmaus disciples that the risen Christ continues to fulfill God’s promise of redemption through his body and blood. The bread in the desert becomes the multiplied fish and loaves . . . and then becomes Christ himself. For this reason we look on these signs and wonders as more than metaphor. Christ rescues us actually and not symbolically. The Spirit resides is us really and not figuratively. God continues to guide and protect us truly and not allegorically. Of this we can be certain. Of this we can be sure. And God’s gift of daily Eucharist is the vehicle of this eternal promise . . . the Old Testament stories from the Torah and Kings are a foreshadowing of the promise incarnate in the Gospel Jesus.

Eucharist definition from: http://www.united-catholic-church.org/FAITH/catholic/def-euch.htm

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Robert Zünd: The Road to Emmaus

Robert Zünd: The Road to Emmaus

Monday, May 5, 2014

Luke 24:25-27

Our Experience of Christ Part III

Jesus taught his disciples saying: “You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?” Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them all the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself”. 

God says: There was a man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and then went on a journey for a long time.  At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenant farmers to receive some of the produce of the vineyard. But they beat the servant and sent hom away empty-handed. So he proceeded to send another servant, but him also they beat and sent away . . . Then he proceeded to send a third, but this one too they wounded and threw out. The owner of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I shall send my beloved son; maybe they will respect him”. But when the tenant farmers saw him they said to one another, “This is the heir. Let us kill him that the inheritance may become ours”. So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him”.  (Luke 20:9-15)

If we believe God to be away on a long journey we are mistaken. God dwells within each of us to guide and protect. If we believe that Jesus died in vain we would be incorrect. Jesus walks beside us to save and lead. If we believe that the Spirit hides in fear we have strayed from the very truth that lives in us. The Spirit calls and comforts, advises and consoles.

Let us not be mistaken. Let us not live in error.  Let us read more of the story recorded by Luke and determine for certain just how we characterize our own experience of the Christ who dies to save.

For more on Jesus on the road to Emmausclick on the image above or go to: http://www.jesus-story.net/emmaus.htm

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Easter Saturday, April 6, 2013 – Luke 24:33-49

Rembrandt: Christ at Emmaus

Rembrandt: Christ at Emmaus

You are Witnesses

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem . . .

In the moment that Cleopas and his companion realize that they have been journeying with Jesus, they rise from the supper table to return to Jerusalem.  The place that a short time before had symbolized disappointment, defeat and danger now is the focus of all their hopes.  They must return to tell the other disciples what has occurred on the road to Emmaus.

So must we tell others about the Easter story as we place all our hope in Christ.

They found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”  Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way . . .

The Emmaus disciples rejoice with the disciples who had stayed behind in Jerusalem; they celebrate the reality that the Christ is still with them.

So must we rejoice as we celebrate with Christ.

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you”.  But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

It is difficult to ask our reason to bow to the miracle before them.  A few short days from now Thomas will stand before them insisting on hard evidence that Jesus has returned.  He must see and touch before he will believe; yet Jesus invites offers Thomas the evidence he needs in order to believe.

So might we be startled and terrified; so might we believe.

Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that is it myself.  Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have”.

Rather than preach to us, Jesus talks with us.  He never ceases to tell us in every way he can that he understands our circumstances and our emotions.

So might we be troubled with fear and doubt; so might we touch, see and trust.

While they were still incredulous for joy, and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

Jesus still shares a meal with his friends just as he has done so often before.  He demonstrates undeniably that he is real for a phantasm cannot eat and drink and laugh with them.

So might we be amazed and incredulous; so might we share a familiar and intimate meal with Christ.

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures . . .

The Teacher never misses an opportunity to instruct them again on the Law of Love and the newness of God’s Kingdom.  The disciples allow themselves to be open to The Word.

So might we listen for the voice of Jesus; so might we be open to The Word.

Then he said to them, “You are witnesses of these things . . . but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. 

Jesus requires affirmation from his followers.  He also counsels them on the next steps they must take in their newly found work of Kingdom-building.

So are we called to be witnesses.

So are we clothed with power from on high.

So are we sisters and brothers of Christ.

So are we Children of the Living God.

So are we loved both deeply and well.

So are we.  So are we.  So are we.

Amen.

Tomorrow, at the Sea of Tiberius . . .

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