Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 John 2:1-5a; Luke 24:35-48
It’s quite possible that we’ve all shared the experience of the disciples. I mean, I can be so focused on how my expectations should unfold that I can’t believe the unforeseen blessing right there in front of me.
It doesn’t have to be anything as big as the promised Messiah. It can be my expectations of a new job, a new relationship, a new baby. Or it can even be a new computer program or Kindle. Crazy as it may be, I expect my life to change and everything to get better.
Of course, nothing much changes after all. When today’s Gospel ends, Jesus death and resurrection neither settled the political problems in Judea nor did the disciples rise above that mess. They would make some hard decisions. History tells us that they did not take up arms against the Romans but left Jerusalem for Syria. They made a very difficult non-violent response to the siege of Jerusalem that cost them their property, their roots, their homeland–their good reputation.
The breakthrough that Jesus offers today made their future choices no easier. Real life didn’t become a fairy tale with a happy ending.
So where does that leave us? I’d say that leaves us in a very good place. That leaves us with hope in suffering–hope to go forward in trust. Jesus is there in the suffering, there with us. Even bad news can become a sacrament of his presence. Hardship, even annihilation can now become communion with him because he’s been there first and has changed that forever. When there are good things ahead, I don’t have to worry how short lived they are; they can come and go but the Jesus I encounter in that good will remain among us after the delight has vanished.
His commitment to us can transform happiness or hardship into real joy. Don’t believe me. If you haven’t yet found that in your own life, look for someone who has lived a full life and still radiates hope and joy, even happiness. You’ll probably find that they arrived there by traveling the road to Emmaus.
What is that road? Isn’t it being disillusioned of my own expectations and strategies until the only option left is to receive what God is offering me?