Hello and welcome to what’s the first instalment of The Word Down Under on Unified Old Catholic Church Radio! I’m Brother Brenden coming to you from the Oratory of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary a ministry of the Unified Old Catholic Church in Australia.
I’m sure that the last week has been a busy one for many of us; in fact it’s often considered the busiest in the Church calendar. I know that many of my friends were not only busy with Church but had a week full of family and fun. I really hope that each and every one of you listening today had a really blessed Holy Week. Personally I was very lucky as I got to spend the start of Holy Week on Holidays relaxing away from home. I returned on Good Friday and was lucky enough to spend time with my family and loved ones.
After the busy period of Easter it’s really easy for us to forget that even though those heady days of Holy Week are over the Easter Season has just begun and that it lasts all the way to Pentecost, a whopping 50 days in total. So what do we do as a Church during this time? I like to think that these 50 days are a time to remember that though Christ has died and been resurrected to Glory that He is still with us in a very special way. Now the Gospel for today, the Wednesday in the Octave of Easter, is one that has really always spoken to me personally and that really highlights some of the most important ways that Christ remains with us.
The Gospel reading for today is found in Luke 24 and starts at Verse 13:
That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
This is such a powerful story for me it speaks so strongly to how the miraculous can happen within the every day. The passage starts off with two friends shooting the breeze as they’re walking along only to be interrupted by a stranger who wants to join in. After the events that have just passed in the Gospels it’s such a contrast to have such an ordinary event take place; something that I’m sure we all do frequently. However, it’s in the midst of this that the Saviour reveals himself in some very special ways; through the scriptures and through the Sacrament of the Altar.
I want to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with yourselves; How often do you sit down and read the Bible? Do you read it daily? Weekly? When you are in times of need? Not at all? I ask this question, one because of today’s gospel and secondly because of an article I read this past week (from a source which eludes me right now) that disturbed me a little.
The article that I read explored how often people read the scriptures of their faith…now I have to admit that I was excited by the title and I was sure that I was going to find that Catholic Christians would be immersing themselves in the Bible…but do you know what I found? It was in fact the opposite; of those that were surveyed a small fraction of Catholic (and for that fact Orthodox) Christians stated that they read the Bible daily. I know that I shouldn’t be surprised, we live in a fast passed world, but I’d like to think that we could all find a few moments every day for even a single verse of the Bible.
So, I can almost hear some of you asking what this has to do with today’s Gospel. Well, when Christ reveals himself to Cleopas and the other Disciple they look at each other and to put it in “modern speak” they say “Dude, we’re so stupid, of course it was Jesus, when He taught us about the Bible my heart was on fire with the Spirit!” This is such an important message for us today! If we want to have Jesus with us and to minister to us we need to start with the messages that He’s left us!
The Bible isn’t some old musty book that gets read to us at Church; it is a roadmap to a life lived to the fullest! Through its pages we can learn what God has said and done throughout human history and we can come to know Christ in a real and intimate way that’s only to be surpassed by communing directly with Him. I really want to encourage everyone to pick up their Bibles every day and spend a moment between its pages, there’s so much wisdom there to help us through life.
And that brings me neatly to the discussing the way that Christ chooses to reveal himself to the two disciples; the breaking of bread. For some of us this may be a bit of an obscure reference but if we cast our mind back a little over a week we should be able to think of another time we heard about Jesus breaking bread…can you remember it?
On the evening of Maundy Thursday Jesus broke bread with his disciples in a very special way when he instituted the Eucharist through the broken bread and the blessed cup and invited the disciples to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood under these elements. At the meal along the road Jesus was repeating this event, and it was through the sharing of this special meal, the sharing of Christ’s body, that these two men’s eyes were open and they saw Christ, and so it is with us today.
Whenever the Eucharist is celebrated Jesus is present in a very real way; though to our imperfect human perceptions there is only bread and wine they have been miraculously transformed into the very body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. I want you to stop for a moment and really think about that…what does that mean to you? For me it is a fact that is almost beyond comprehension, not only did Christ wash away my sins but he left me a way to actually meet him, one on one and to commune with Him and for that fact to become one with Him in a very real manner. I find that my words fail me when I try and explain the Eucharist and what it means to me…there is no human or earthly way to describe what the Eucharist means to me, the way it makes me feel, and the transformative power that it holds.
It is through this great mystery that each and every Christian is called to experience Christ and to witness the great miracle of His saving grace. If it has been a while since have had the opportunity to receive the Eucharist can I encourage you to go this Sunday if not sooner and be with Jesus. AS you take Communion let yourself feel the real presence of Christ, contemplate the fact that He is there and I promise you that whole new vistas of understanding will be open to you on your journey through life!
I hope that my words today haven’t been too rambling and confused and that you can gain nourishment from them and be helped along you walk with Jesus. I hope that the week ahead is a holy and blessed one and if you have time I would love you to join me for my new show Saturday With the Saints which will be starting this Saturday (in the morning for my American listeners and in the evening for those Down Under) where I’ll be discussing those Saints and events which the Church celebrates in the week ahead.
For now though I want to wish you a find farewell from myself and the whole Unified Old Catholic Church and ask that you’ll join me in praying:
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.https://widget.spreaker.com/widgets.js