Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Congregation for the Clergy on the Third Sunday of Easter

The Risen Lord uses so much gentleness with us! He doesn't force us to 'believe' but He offers us the instruments that enable us to judge based on the perfect measure of our own hearts. As St Augustine extraordinarily wrote in the opening of his Confessions 'our heart is fidgety until it rests in you' (St. Augustine, Conf. 1,1,1:PL 32,659-661)

It is the first day of the week after the great Jewish feast of the Passover and Jerusalem is trying to return to its usual routine. The shop keepers count their profits and the Temple priests congratulate themselves because they were able to kill the 'Galilean'. For the disciples and those who were 'foreigners' in Jerusalem, it is time to start to come back to their own homes and their normal lives.

Curtains were closed and lights were dimmed not only due to the celebration of Jerusalem's solemn festival but also because everyone had hope that the man Jesus 'would be the One to convert Israel' (Lk 24:21). The two disciples from Emmaus are to be found, along their journey, talking to 'Jesus in person', 'but their eyes were banned from recognising Him' (Lk 24:16).

Why did the Lord not tell the disciples straight away who He was? Indeed, in the dialogue that the liturgy presents to us today, it almost seems that Jesus did all He could to avoid illuminating His true identity. Firstly, He pretended not to know what Cleopas and his companion were discussing and then He went on to 'explain to them the passages throughout scriptures that were about Himself' (Lk 24:27) but without making direct reference to Himself.

At the end of the journey, 'He made to go on' (Lk 24:28). Jesus didn't want to play games with His disciples, but He required to educate their hearts, and also ours, so that we won't be 'slow'! In fact, when faced with the Lord's Presence, we find that the heart quickly 'burns' upon hearing His words as we are grateful of the fact that we were unchained not by 'gold and silver but by the precious blood of Christ' who is the 'blameless and spotless' lamb (Cfr. 1 Pet 1:19).

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