“When [Jesus] was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)
We’re approaching the third Sunday of Easter – more than two weeks after our celebration of the resurrection – and yet our Gospel story is still dealing with what happened on Easter Day. We seem to be having difficulty getting past Easter. Perhaps we’re still trying to make sense of it all?
Today’s story features two disciples on a long stroll. They are talking as they walk, trying to come to terms with what had happened. Suddenly, Jesus joins them and tries to explain what has been going on, but they don’t even recognise Him! Eventually, when they sit down to eat together and Jesus breaks the bread, the penny drops. They realise it’s Him, but how much they retained of what He had to say, we don’t know.
It seems to be a feature of the Gospel narratives that, despite everyone calling Jesus, ‘teacher’, nobody seemed to absorb what He taught. The two disciples featured in today’s story say, “we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Along with the other disciples, they had thought that Jesus was going to end the Roman military occupation of their country. When you read what Jesus said to His disciples though, it seems that He went out of His way to make clear that this was not His agenda. Why did they have so much trouble understanding Him?
The problem, of course, is that communication is a two-way process, and what we hear depends a lot on what we want to hear and on what we expect someone to say. We all hear the teachings of Jesus through the filter of our own expectations and prejudices. The answers we get depend on the questions we ask, and those questions tend to be framed by our culture and environment. Understood in this way, today’s prosperity Gospel is not that different from the liberation theology of Jesus’ contemporaries.
“Reflection is endless, action is lost”, said Epictetus. Indeed, if all we received from Jesus were His teachings, I suspect that they would have been a source of endless reflection, but not much else. What turned lives upside-down in the first century was not people gradually becoming convinced of the truth of what Jesus had been teaching them. It was when Jesus touched them, healed them, called them by name (John 20:16), showed them His wounds (John 20:27) and broke bread with them. It was the real and tangible encounters people had with Jesus that changed the world.
I suspect that we linger on Easter Day as long as we do for much the same reason. Jesus is very much on the loose on Easter Day. Who knows where He is going to pop up next? Perhaps if we hover around for a bit longer, we’ll bump into Him too. For in truth, it’s the encounter with Jesus that is the heart of the Good News. Jesus doesn’t simply give us the truth. He gives us Himself.
Our Sunday Eucharist
We had another very special Eucharist last Sunday. I had Sam and Karyn join me live, and Father Ola giving us a reflection on the Epistle via pre-recorded video.
If you tune in below, you’ll get to hear how Sam has sold his house and is transitioning to life as a Gray Nomad – living in his campervan in the state forests. Interestingly, it turns out that both Karyn and I have similar hopes for the future. It seems that the wilderness is calling to many of us.
This week’s guests on the Sunday Eucharist are another truly international group: Doug Pyeatt (USA), Andrew Madry (Australia) and Father Elias (the Netherlands), Please do join us at midday via www.thesundayeucharist.com or via your favourite social media platform: Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram.
Let me work your corner
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- April 21st to 23rd – @Binacrombi for all who can join me.
- Sunday, April 23rd – Our Eucharist from midday @thesundayeucharist.com or via Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram
- Tuesday, April 25th – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Thursday, April 27th – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Saturday, April 29th – Down the Rabbit Hole Ball @The Epping Club
You might notice that my fight at the Revesby Workers Club has been deleted from the list above. It’s still going ahead but has been pushed back to July. Hopefully, by next week, I’ll be able to give you both an exact date and the name of my opponent.
Next Saturday is our great fundraiser ball. If you haven’t yet got your tickets to Down the Rabbit Hole, there is still time. Visit TryBooking.com now and join us for what should be a great night.
It was my son, Soren’s, 21st birthday this week. I’m not sure if he can make it to the ball but my daughter, Imogen, has come up from Melbourne and she intends to join us. I do look forward to catching up with many of you there.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
About Father Dave Smith
Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four