Walk, Break Bread And Live Your Life With Christ
Third Sunday of Easter (A)
My dear encountered couples:
Things didn’t exactly turn out as they had hoped. Those two disciples of Jesus had hoped that Jesus was the promised Messiah “who would set Israel free.” I guess they were among those who thought the long—promised Messiah when he would come would free Israel from Roman domination. But it didn’t work out that way. Jesus was dead now, crucified, and they were returning home, disappointed and dejected, probably returning to get on with life as it was before they had met the carpenter from Nazareth. Maybe we can imagine how they might have felt.
Ever been counting on something really important to you? And then have it all go up in smoke. It takes a while to get over it and back to ordinary living and thinking. You have to readjust your hopes and plans. What you expected is just not going to be so. Was it that you were living in a dream land, hoping for something that could never really be? Or was it just some very bad luck that changed everything for you? Whatever it was, it was, and you just have to learn to live with it. Not easy, but you’ve done it, and you’ll do it many more times in the future.
Like those two disciples walking along that road to Emmaus who had the wrong idea of what the Messiah would be like and what his purpose would be, we too find from time to time that we are mistaken in our ideas of things. It took Jesus to set their thinking straight; it took Jesus to put some spark back into their lives.
You’ve heard the saying, “Man proposes but God disposes.” We have all sorts of ideas and plans, but it is God who controls the outcome. Try as we may, nobody, no matter how rich nor how powerful is going to get his or her way for very long. God knows what he wants to accomplish and it is going to be accomplished sooner or later. He wants us to be in on his plans, but if we refuse, or if we make mistakes, he is going to see to it that it comes out his way anyhow.
Those two disciples, as well as the apostles and all the other disciples, had their own plans, hopes, and ideas. It took Jesus to explain to them that things were going to be worked out differently and for different purposes. He explained the Scriptures to them that had to do with the work of the Messiah. And it was not to free Israel from Rome. The Messiah was to free the Israelites and the whole world of people from sin and its effects. The Messiah came to save people from slavery to the devil, to save everyone from hell. And his death and resurrection were a necessary part of God’s plan for bringing it off, for accomplishing it.
"Man proposes, but God disposes.” We have another way of saying it too. “Father knows best.” The reason the world is in such a mess is because God often lets us have our way. I guess he humors us like children who have to learn they aren’t as smart as they think. We foul things up. Then God has to clean up the mess.
For instance: Our manufacture and use of chemicals for what we had thought would better life. We now find we are poisoning the earth and its atmosphere. Our water is becoming undrinkable, wild life is dying, trees are being wiped out by acid in our rain. Even as far off as the ozone layer, what might be irreparable damage is being done. What we thought would help us live better and more comfortably seems to be killing us.
Our manufacture and use of chemicals is producing a dying world. We must change our plans, we must readjust our dreams – or else. (Mother Nature is upset.)
Take something more personal. Your family. You who are parents have special hopes and dreams for your children. You sacrifice and work your you know what off for them. But your children have other hopes and dreams. What you want for them and what they want for themselves might clash. Somebody’s hopes and dreams have to be readjusted. Who’s will it be? And with how much bickering and arguing, emotional stress and heartache? You think you know what is best for your kids; they think they know what is best for themselves. I wonder what God not only thinks but knows what is best for all in the family.
When our ways run contrary or even off course to God’s ways, we eventually, if not now, experience grief and failure. Even in reading about the hopes and expectations of St. Paul as he traveled the world to convert everybody, we find him discovering that his ideas and ways were not always God’s ways. And he often had to readjust. How did he manage to do that?
It wasn’t easy. But Paul had come to realize that if he didn’t think and do as God wished, he was wasting his time. Remember, Paul had once been like a one-man army trying to eradicate what he thought to be those crazy followers of that blasphemous heretic, Jesus of Nazareth. Didn’t do him much good, did it? Got knocked off his self-righteous, high horse, didn’t he? Now he himself was one of those, in quotes, “crazy” followers of the Nazorean. Paul no longer believed Jesus was a blasphemer and a heretic. He knew him to be the Messiah and the Son of God.
Paul turned into a man of prayer. He tried his best not to run around doing what he thought should be done without first checking things out with God. Paul lived in the state of prayer. If there had been a telephone hotline between earth and heaven Paul would have been monopolizing it. Like some people have their radios turned on all the time, Paul kept tuned into God all day long.
We must pray too. Those two disciples had the light dawn on them through their personal discussion with Christ. That’s prayer. Talking with God, thinking of God is prayer, whether we are walking, standing, sitting, kneeling, whatever. To live in God’s presence is what counts so that he can get through to our little minds and direct our thoughts and ways. The two disciples when they arrived home invited Jesus to stay with them. He did. And they soon recognized him in the “breaking of the bread.” They began to really understand him and know him.
We need the companionship of Christ in our homes and lives. Or we might find ourselves someday walking down a long, lonely road, disappointed and dejected that life just didn’t work out as we had hoped. Walk with Christ, break bread with Christ, and live your life with Christ. Let him fill you with HIS hopes, HIS dreams, and HIS plans.