We recognize him in the breaking of the bread...

Emmaus by Roy de Maistre

A note about this homily:
Several factors contribute to the fact that the homily you'll hear on the audio and the homily you'll read in the text below are different, although there are similarities.  Homilies "grow" over the course of a weekend and the audio is the latest version of what I began with on Saturday. (And, we are in our First Communion season!)

Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter
(Scriptures for today's liturgy)

Audio for homily

Jesus drew near to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him…

That might sound strange to us - until we consider some of the things
that might prevent us from recognizing Jesus as he draws near to us.

Sometimes my problems and worries
consuming so much of my energy and attention
might prevent me from seeing Jesus right by my side.

Or perhaps it’s my anger, hurt and disappointment
that blur my vision and I miss seeing Jesus as he draws near to me.

Or it could be that I just don’t pay much attention to the Lord,
that I don’t look for him in prayer and in sacrament.
Perhaps I don’t recognize him because I’ve forgotten what he looks like.

But the truth is: the Lord never leaves my side - or yours.
There’s not a step we take that the Lord doesn’t walk that step with us.
There’s not a moment of any day or night
when he’s not beside us, behind us and just ahead of us.

But we can still fail to recognize him.

And we can fail to hear him when he asks us, as he did the disciples,
“What’s on your mind, what’s your story, as you walk along?”

He wants to know our story and often enough our story,
like that of the two disciples,
is a story of faith, disappointment, confusion and hope.

He wants to be part of our story with its good days and bad days,
its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows.

I wonder:
what in my story, and what in your story, keeps us, prevents us
from recognizing the Lord by our side?

I wonder:
how long has it been since we told the Lord our story
and asked him to be part of it?

I wonder:
how long has it been since we’ve asked the Lord
to “stay with us” and be the God of our lives?

Some of us are at church every Sunday
and some of us have come back to church today
because someone we love is receiving First Communion.
Being here is like walking the road to Emmaus
and the Lord has drawn near and is speaking to us.
Can we open our eyes to recognize him?
Do we hear him asking us about the story of our lives?
Can we invite him into our story and ask him to be with us?

It was only when the two disciples broke bread with Jesus
that they recognized who he was
and that’s precisely why we’re here today:
to bread with Jesus and to recognize his presence among us
and especially in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist
we bless, break and share the Bread of Life
and in Holy Communion we recognize Jesus
and who gives himself to us, as once he did on the Cross,
now in the sacrifice of this altar.

Think of our First Communion children today
as the disciples walking along the road to Emmaus.
Think of them as leading us to recognize the Lord
who has never left our side
even if we have failed to see him there.

These children and the sacrament they are receiving
are leading us to the Lord who loves them
and all of us, too.

It was the Lord who guided us to come here today.
It’s the Lord who is with us in the breaking of the Bread.
And it’s the Lord who will walk with us when we leave here today
and who will never leave our side.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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