04-23-2023Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The pain and sorrow we feel when someone close to us dies can be overwhelming to say the least. Anyone who has suffered and grieved the death of someone close to them may be able to relate to the two disciples in today’s Gospel. Today we hear that they have left Jerusalem and are heading to the village of Emmaus. They are grieving the death of Jesus whom they just saw crucified and buried in Jerusalem. Sacred Scripture tells us that they are “downcast,” because not only did they experience a tragedy, they were also hoping that Jesus would be the one to free them from all their misery. But now Jesus is dead and their dreams are shattered. As they walk down the road, they are putting distance between themselves and the city in which their lives fell apart and their hope was crushed. In the midst of their loss and grief, Jesus greets them and walks with them even they don’t recognize Him.

The disciples do not recognize Jesus. This may seem strange to all who hear this story? Yes, it’s true that Jesus has been transformed and now appears in His glorified and risen body, but these two disciples ate with Jesus and talked with Jesus many times. Why didn’t they recognize Jesus’s voice, the voice they heard as He addressed the crowds many times? It is understandable to think that they were so caught up in their pain that they did not see what was before their eyes. Of course they were very afraid for their own lives since they witnessed what happened to Jesus. One thing we know, these two men were so focused on what they had lost that they were unable to see Our Lord as He walked beside them on the road. It is natural for us to focus on the things that we have lost. Whenever we experience a tragedy, it is easy to get out of sync and to lose our perspective and even our way. Unexpected events, like losing a job can threaten our security and cause us to fear for future. As each of have and will experience loss and unexpected trials, it is crucial that do not forget to look for the presence of the risen Christ who walks with us and continues to bless us always.

How does Christ bless you and me in our time of crisis? He blesses us with our faith, a faith in Jesus who, though He lay for three days in the tomb, He is still the Lord of life and whose love for us is stronger than the trials we face, the sadness we experience, and even death itself.

It is so easy to focus on what is absent or what causes us fear. The enemy loves when we fix our thoughts on past regrets, hurts, and sadness. Today, Our Lord invites you and me once again to focus on what is present and who it is that blesses us. I encourage you to begin your day with gratitude. Resist the temptation to be like the disciples who failed to see what was right before their eyes. As we continue our journey, we know that sadness and difficulties are plentiful, but never forget that the real presence of the Risen Lord is stronger than death and Our Lord always helps us to be aware that He walks at our side leading us to life and all that is good, true, and beautiful.

God Bless,

Fr. Don Kline, V.F.