Reflections: The Third Sunday of Easter

April 26, 2020 (Acts 2: 14, 22-28; 1 Peter 1: 17-21; Luke 24: 13-35)

Meeting Jesus in the Stranger

Cleopas and his friend were trying to distance themselves from the scandalous disaster that befell the Apostles and followers of Jesus with the shameful death of their Master at the hands of the very Roman soldiers, whom they thought Jesus had come to vanquish. They were disappointed and depressed. So these two disciples set out for Emmaus to get away from it all.

That same day, late in the evening, they come right back to rejoin the company of Apostles and believers that they had abandoned earlier in the day. They come back full of joy and zeal. What happened to them that give rise to this dramatic turnaround? They were hospitable to a stranger they met on their way to Emmaus, – a stranger who did not quite look like Jesus but who turned out to be Jesus after all.

Brothers and sisters, who knows how many times the risen Lord has passed you and me by, and we did not recognize him or experience his transforming grace, all because of our fear of strangers or our nonchalant attitudes toward them?

When the two disciples opened up and welcomed the stranger in their midst, their cold hearts were set aflame with insight and inspiration. And Jesus revealed himself to them. They were blessed of experiencing the Risen Jesus, all because they were good and hospitable to a stranger. Banishing all fear and fatigue they got up and went back that same night to rejoin the company of Apostles and followers of Jesus, and then share the good news with them.

The risen Lord can appear to us in any kind of persons, different from us, probably as a stranger. Can we recognize and welcome him? Today’s Gospel challenges us to start seeing those other people simply as companions on the way. When we reach out to them in hospitality we reach out to God and attract a blessing to ourselves. Even in the midst of the trials and temptations of this pandemic, we still have the obligations to reach out to our needy “strangers” – the least of our brethren. You are in my prayers. I miss all of you. Be safe.