“our own hope had been.. had been.. that he would be the one to set Israel free..” the two disciples of Jesus, having grown in hopefulness & faith in the three years they had shared with him, now found themselves lost, bereft, hopeless, as he was crucified died & was now buried.. no Temple funeral service that Good Friday night, just a hasty gathering of few of his closest trusties at the tomb, a graveside prayer, with the rest practising social & religious distancing, self protecting for their own health & wellbeing.. ..”keep safe & stay at home”..
“our own hope had been..” for the times in this crisis we too lose hope.. ; Lord have mercy “& some women from our group have astounded us” ..too far fetched to believe..& especially from a woman.. ; Christ have mercy “exactly as reported but of him they saw nothing” ..& too often neither do we.. blind guides.. ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..we have seen him, he is alive!” great Easter message brought with passion conviction & intimacy from Mary Magdalen to upper room, to the frightened rabbits locked in self-isolation..” but they did not believe her; after this he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country..”..”some of our friends went to the tomb, but of him they saw nothing”.. followers chosen for their dullness ordinariness & their potential but as of now still “a tomato short of a salad”.. that close to a meal of a lifetime..” you foolish men” & women.. all so close & familiar this extraordinary Easter.. “wait here & keep awake with me” he had told his three favourite trusties on Holy Thursday night in Gethsemane..”& he came back & found them sleeping” & now 48hrs after his death the whisper is to wait & stay awake.. “waiting is one of the most difficult tasks we have to face, because it makes us feel so helpless. In most areas of our lives, we are used to being able to make decisions & choices that will make things happen for us. Our day to day lives are so full of things to be done, that we imagine it would be lovely to have a period of waiting, where things are taken out of our hands & there is nothing we can do. But when we are presented with a situation where the only thing we can do is wait, we find it intensely difficult. When we, or someone we love is ill, there is a lot of waiting; in hospital rooms, waiting for test results, waiting to see if the chemotherapy works. This kind of waiting is almost unbearable, because all our choice is taken away. We can’t make things happen by our energy or force of will. Painful waiting is a hard lesson in reality; we might wriggle or try to negotiate things round the way we want them to be, & then to stand & wait is indeed the only service we can give. It is a service to reality, & so too to ourselves.” words of a woman from “Approaching Easter” by Jane Williams, written well before the pandemic, but how powerfully appropriate alive & challenging.. the two then & you & I today have yet to hear the echo from the first Gethemane into this our own Gethsemane “wait & stay awake” we thirst for an end to the lockdown, for permission to emerge from our family tomb.. to shop again to get back to what we are best at.. or as is now proven worst at.. at working, at being a Martha a workaholic tirelessly earning our way for the good of our family.. praying tirelessly in our faith family for the wellbeing protection life & growth of our suffering neighbour in pew next to us, & denying our own need of space to stand still & wait “so you had not the strength to keep awake with me one hour?” four weeks of the lockdown?.. feeling afraid hopeless angry in their cabin fever, they broke the divine curfew & made for their home village.. Ampleforth Gilling.. to face the music.. family friends fellow fishermen farm labourers teachers doctors who had told them 3yrs earlier not to be foolish in following this latest street magician wonderworker.. a 40day wonder; & instead they heard from the heart the divine invitation “come follow me” & now a stranger berating them now as they would be in an hours time “you foolish men so slow to believe” they saw with their Specsavers spectacles on with varifocals everything that was nothing.. all the negatives.. but nothing of what was & was to be for infinity, everything.. hopeless impatient frustrated wanting to get home & back to ordinary life.. without realising this was a divine once in a lifetime precious moment of spiritual furloughing.. where our divine chancellor is prepared not just to cover our religious wellbeing through the grace of spiritual communion in the crisis, but to offer us the opportunity of a lifetime, if if if we are prepared to wait “together” is there not a sense in these weeks of physical isolation that we are spiritually closer than we ever have been?.. & for me the crucial moment in this gospel is when the stranger & the two come up Station Road & get to the t junction.. the two are about to turn right for the Abbey, & the stranger to go left towards Wass..” he went as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them” the world changed at that moment when they asked him to stay “wait here & keep awake with us” roles reversed in Gethsemane as they invite him to a meal, not a last supper but the meal of a lifetime.. for a lifetime..” he went in to stay with them” he comes into your homes & your hearts to stay with you, to share in your homes the meal of a lifetime we call the Eucharist.. you feel it denied to you for the last four weeks, but think again; wait watch & pray again among your own most beloved.. suffering from cabin fever hungry for freedom for escape..& at your dining table one of you takes the bread breaks it hands it round, “& their eyes were opened & they recognised him” Christ the Risen Christ alive among you, within each of you, well worth the wait of four weeks so far & more to come, in which we meet Him, in person, in bread & wine, & in differences ..Mother Teresa’s advice for world peace is valid for us now; no longer “go home & love your families “ but “stay at home & love your families” no better place to wait & pray for the moment you will recognise him at your dining table..” yes, it is true; the Lord has risen & has appeared to Simon” & to us in person at our Mass round the breakfast table this morning.. [3rdSun Easter Yr A ; Lk 24;13-35]