Homily – 3rd Sunday of Easter

The other day I was waiting on the subway. I was sitting there reading my book, minding my own business, not making eye contact with anyone. Very well behaved. When, a later middle aged woman came, sat down next to me and said, hello, Father. How are you? And I looked at her. Clearly she recognized me. No clue who she was.

Not any glimmer. So as she was talking, I was looking for the clues how to piece together who this was. Have you ever had that experience? You’re running away. No, you. You don’t know them. It’s not good. And so she kept talking. And I must have had that dazed and confused look because she finally said. You don’t know who I am, do you?

I said, well, to tell you the truth, no, I don’t. I don’t know who you are. You said, well, I’m from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Now, I was assigned vernacular to Heart of Mary in 2002. No, I’m lucky. I remember where I am now in 2024 to go back 22 years. And she kept giving me details. And then all of a sudden she gave me the detail and I remembered who she was.

Now I had to go through all that time listening, but it was when she gave me that one bit of information. It all became clear. Well, that was exactly the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were getting out of Jerusalem, running away when they had this encounter with Christ. They didn’t recognize him, but he began to give them details about who he was, and they still didn’t recognize him until he gave them the detail, the breaking of the bread.

And they recognized him, and they ran back. And today’s gospel begins. They have yet another encounter with the risen Christ. They’re still not exactly sure they recognize him. But then he gives them the detail. He shows them his hands and his feet, and they recognize him, and they share a meal together. They give him fish. He eats it, and they understand all those other meals they shared.

And it becomes clear. Encounter details, understanding mission. Each and every one of us. Every day is called to have that. Hello.

How are you doing? yeah. No rush. Take your time. Feels good. We are called to have that encounter with Christ. To remember and celebrate the day we were baptized. Now, obviously, if I ask you, remember the day you were baptized? Some may, some may not. But it was on that day that the church first offers the encounter, and we’re called to remember the details and then understand what baptism means for us, and were sent out in mission, the mission to proclaim the gospel.

In two weeks, we as a community of faith are going to celebrate first Holy Communion. That encounter the church offers with the Body and Blood of Christ. So how many of us remember our first Holy Communion? we remember and we understand that the Eucharist calls us to be to live the body of Christ. And when we understand, we’re sent in mission to live the body and blood of Christ in the world.

Amazing. In June, we as a community will celebrate the sacrament of confirmation. That encounter with the spirit of the risen Christ. How many of us remember the day of our confirmation? Anointed with the spirit of the risen Lord. We are called to understand that anointing to live, redeem the world and be disciples in mission, encounter, understanding, experience, mission.

There it is for us, and in a moment we are going to form a procession to receive the Eucharist where, just as in today’s gospel, Jesus is going to invite us to touch him and be touched by him. We are going to have that encounter through the body and blood of Christ with the Lord. That is going to deepen our faith, our understanding, our experience, and lead us back out on mission to proclaim the resurrection of the Lord.

Just as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did, just as all of our great ancestors and faith based on encounter, experience, understanding, and mission. Isn’t it amazing that what the disciples encountered on the road to witness 2000 years ago is our experience now? And that Saturday, the Diocese of Brooklyn is going to have our Eucharistic Revival. 10,000 are going to gather to live the Eucharist.

And then as a nation in July, we’re going to have our national Congress. Why? Because we have encountered Christ. We are growing in our understanding and experience and we’re called to proclaim. So just as any one of us can be seated on the subway and have an encounter with someone, we may or may not recognize, and we have to listen to the details to understand.

And then we recognize. So to every day with Christ Jesus will encounter, experience, understanding, mission in the world to proclaim Christ Jesus, who is risen from the dead.