Here we are in the octave of Easter, the days from Easter to the 2nd Sunday of Easter. In the early church the Bishop would gather with the neophytes, the newly initiated, those who had just received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The preaching was experiential, helping the neophytes learn more about the new life they just entered into. This experience is known as mystagogy, which means “Learning the mysteries.”
No matter how long we have lived our Catholic Christian faith, we can still learn more about the depths of our faith in the risen Christ, reflect upon the sacraments we have received and see how these sacraments reveal more to us of our faith.
Today we read from Luke’s gospel the road to Emmaus story. After the death of the Lord, some of the disciples fled, two of them set out for the village of Emmaus approximately a seven mile walk from Jerusalem. Along the way they encounter a stranger who does not seem to know what happened in Jerusalem over the past few days. The two disciples, one of them is Cleopas by name, do not recognize Jesus, their eyes are downcast because they mourn the loss of their friend, teacher, and rabbi, Jesus. The risen Christ, proceeds to explain what all the scriptures meant beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.
As twilight approaches they pause for a meal. Jesus prays the berakah, the ancient prayer, “Blessed are you O Lord, our God” as he blessed the bread and cup. In that moment their eyes were opened, they recognized him in the breaking of the bread and then immediately he vanishes from their sight. Now that they can see, now that they have some insight, they go back to the others in Jerusalem and tell them what they have seen and heard.
This was a moment of mystagogy, reflecting on how the scriptures touched their lives, how the scriptures were fulfilled in Christ, and how these disciples would begin to go out and tell the Good News. Easter calls everyone of us to grasp, on a deeper and more profound level, what it means to be a follower of the crucified and risen Christ. In the prayers of this season, we are led each Sunday to a deeper understanding for ourselves and for our lives, of what it means to be baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ. How is this Easter calling us to new life in Christ? How do the scripture passages move us to reflect on our faith in light of world events? What does all this mean for us? Together we will reflect, uncover, and discover Christ’s teaching this year.
Happy Easter, Father Larry