EASTER SUNDAY 3 A : HOMILY by Fr. Matthias Lusembo

THEME: No matter what happens in our lives, the risen Jesus is always with us. God is always near to those who seek Him and who want to live in His presence, doing His will.

During this time of COVID-19 Pandemic, many people are lamenting like the disciples of Jesus on the way to Emmaus: We were hoping that the economic boom would bring us prosperity and jo-security! We were planning to buy a nice house! We were eager to marry and go on a cruise! We were hoping to live longer! We were expecting to have a big graduation party! We were intending to expand our business! All these hopes and dreams have been shattered by the Corona Virus!

Jesus might approach them and explain the scriptures to them, beginning with the Book of Ecclesiastes: “You spend your life working, laboring, and what do you have to show for it? Generations come and generations go, but the world stays just the same.” (1:3-4). Job 1:21 adds: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Psalm 23:1 concludes: “The Lord is my Shepherd: I have everything I need.”

My dear brothers and sisters, we should not allow the Corona Virus to force us to make the three mistakes made by the disciples on the way to Emmaus:

1) First of all they left their community that was trying to understand all that had happened to Jesus. Victory over COVID-19 and other evils in the Church and society at large necessitates collaboration of individuals, States and nations. Otherwise the Virus will flow from individual to individual, State to State. Corona might have come to teach us a lesson against individualism.
2) The second mistake of the disciples to Emmaus is that they did not try to verify what the women had discovered. They were like the people who reject the faith-experience or science of others which they cannot yet verify.
3) This can make people lose valuable time that is required to handle the situation in time. Let us not dismiss or take lightly advices that are intended to save us.
4) The third mistake is that they never questioned their mentality about a triumphant messiah. They never gave room to God’s surprises and innovations. Let us not despair or be downcast. God is full of surprises. A lot of good things are likely to come out of this Corona situation: Better air, more production of medical equipment, better family ties, more interstate and international collaboration, and more trust in heavenly matters.

Good enough, the risen Jesus did not abandon the two disciples. He joined them as the Main Celebrant, processed in with them;
gave them the Liturgy of the Word, with a very enchanting homily, celebrated the Holy Eucharist with them, gave them Holy Communion (Himself) and consequently disappeared. And immediately after Mass they went back to Jerusalem to proclaim the risen Lord.

Let us proclaim that Jesus will never abandon us whatever mistakes we may make.

In the first reading, from Acts 2: 22-33, Peter proclaims that Jesus who, on the cross had asked his Father “Why have you abandoned me?” (Mt 27:46), was raised from death. Therefore, the Father had not abandoned him! In the second reading, Peter exhorts the early Christians to place their Faith and Hope in God who has raised Jesus from the dead. (1Pt 1:21). That is what we should do even in this Corona situation.
Today’s Gospel text (Lk 24:13-35) shows us a God who will not abandon us when we are hurt and disappointed.

Jesus comes to support and strengthen us, especially when our hopes and dreams are shattered: hopes and dreams about better health, healing, financial security and better family relationships. So, we should maintain contact with the Risen Lord through prayer, the Eucharist, and the Bible so that He continues to nourish us with His word and Himself in the Holy Eucharist.
It is because the two disciples continued to listen to that stranger, it is because they invited him to their house, it is because they accepted to celebrate with him that they recognized him at the breaking of the bread. So, let us continue to celebrate the Eucharist with Jesus, ready to proclaim his presence among us.