The tide of time can carry us far, our life can be floating directionless on its constant current. Many things happen to us on our journey through life. Some our own making but a large part consequent of people and events around us. This pandemic has shown us that. We can bob up and down like a piece of debris as we wait for this pandemic to make its way through the passage of time. But where will it leave us?
The tide is now turbulent. “We live in extraordinary times!”, an exclamation of a priest from where I am as he opens his homily each Sunday, appreciating the tremendous effect this virus is having on our daily life then expounding on the wisdom that the love of God accompanies us on this difficult journey. There is a silent wisdom out there. We must tune into it for direction. You and I are like the two disciples on the journey to Emmaus.
Life has changed for all of us. For many the change has been drastic and permanent. We have lost jobs and even loved ones. Rainy days are here. When, and if, this virus goes away, the world may not give us our jobs back. Will we allow this situation to take us randomly where it will and perhaps deposit us into a well of worries? The control stick is in our inner self. We must try to reach it to find that silent wisdom.
This is Easter. We must not see this as an extended Lent. Because if we do, we shut our senses off to the presence of the Risen Christ who is now walking with us, stride for stride, on this challenging journey. It is precisely because of moments like this that He went through Lent to rise and be for us this special presence. An extended Lent is a longing to be in the past or a faithless worry of the future. Easter is here and now. God’s timing has not gone awry.
Today’s contemplation on the Journey to Emmaus cannot come at a better time. In this itself, it shows God to be active in our life. We must open our eyes to see. A friend troubled by these extraordinary times confessed, “I too do not want to let this crisis go to ‘waste’. It would be such a shame to come out of the crisis as the same person I was going into it.” To transform, we embark on this journey to Emmaus to ‘encounter’ the Risen Christ.
Small beginnings lead to great transformation. Seemingly small things change us in big ways. Our smart phone is a good illustrative tool. If we observe ourselves say on a pilgrimage, we cannot resist the temptation of recording what is immediately happening before us. In so doing we have recorded the present into our past or consigned it into a digital future. We miss the richness of a God experience by not being present in it, in the here and now.
God is always acting in the present. He is available for us each moment. Be still and know I am near. The power of now.
Contemplating our life story juxtaposed with the journey to Emmaus can be a powerfully rich spiritual experience. It is a faith booster during this time of the virus. Every one of us have passed a few milestones marking life transforming events in our personal life. Dwell especially on challenging events in our past: illness, broken relationships, job loss, grief. At the time of those happenings we might have been angry with the Risen Christ and then forgotten about him. Trace our life journey from those episodes. Many opened new doors for us further down the road. Looking back lead us to an understanding of why certain things happened, (and thankfully they did). We will also find healing. Then we can say, “Did not my heart burn within me as he talked to me about my journey and explained my history to me?”
The Risen Christ has silently walked with us throughout our personal history, picking us up from our falls, clearing the way ahead, diverting us from the paths of danger and giving us peace in turbulence.
My same friend quoted from the poem, Footprints in the Sand, depicting the author’s life journey where there were two pairs of footprints, one belonging to himself and the other to the Risen Christ. “But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed you the most, you would leave me.” He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, during your trials and tests. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
This is the silent wisdom who awaits us. Growing in faith, evangelising oneself, requires this encounter with the Risen Christ. To quote from Thursday’s meditation from Word Among Us, faith grows into this new dimension only when “evangelization is a work of human encounter, not one of logical argumentation”.
So, we must stop bobbling in time, not knowing where we are going. Seize that control in your inner self. Walk to your Emmaus today by contemplating the events in your life story. Try to join the milestones, you will find that they link in an intricate way. As many challenges there were, there were also many unexpected twists and moments of gratitude. Who could have been walking beside you? This is Easter. It is time to ask, “Where do I want to go?”
“Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ. Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.” (Second Reading)
3rd Sunday of Easter