Worship At Home, The Third Sunday of Easter
Welcome to Worship at Home with Corpus Christi Church
The Third Sunday of Easter
Whatever your present status in the Catholic Church, whatever your
current family or marital situation, whatever your past or present
religious affiliation, whatever your personal history, age, background,
race or color, sexual orientation, whatever your self-esteem…you are
invited, welcomed, accepted, loved and respected by the
Catholic Community of Corpus Christi.
Let us know your needs, your hopes, your gifts.
There is a place for you here.
Let us begin, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Now, here in this place,
we lift up our hands in praise
as we open our hearts to the gifts of your Spirit.
Breathe new life into us,
and quench our thirsting soul with your love.
Call us to be awake, to see you,
to feel you, and to proclaim you with the entirety of our lives.
We ask this through Christ Jesus, our Lord.
The First Reading
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:
I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.
“My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”
The word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God
You Will Show Me the Path of Life:
The Second Reading
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Peter
If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially
according to each one’s works,
conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,
realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
handed on by your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold
but with the precious blood of Christ
as of a spotless unblemished lamb.
He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.
The word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Fr. John Parkos
WE REPEAT THE EMMAUS JOURNEY
Today’s Gospel opens with two dejected disciples
leaving the community in Jerusalem,
and closes with the two of them, rejoicing, back in Jerusalem.
They leave Jerusalem because they have given up.
All their hopes and dreams now seem dashed and pointless
because of the death of the One they thought / hoped was the Messiah.
They are going “home,” back to their former way of life and occupation,
because they do not see any way forward. [acedia – below ?!]
The future looks dark and pointless.
[ Could this be how the slaves in Egypt felt across 400 years of waiting
… deliverance “delayed so long they thought all hope was lost”
(Joncas – Zechariah’s “Benedictus” (Luke 1:67-79))?
Could this be how (the Book of) Jonah felt in the belly of “the big fish”?
Could this be how (the Book of) Job felt,
waiting for God to explain the “problem of evil”?
Could this be how … ? Could this be how … ? Could this be how … ?
(example after example after example), waiting for God to … ?
Could this be how I have felt / feel today, waiting for God to …
(You fill in the blank!) ? ]
Between these opening and closing journeys is the story of
their encounter with Jesus, unrecognized, and his walking with them.
On the road, he explains the Scriptures to them,
and in the evening shares in the breaking of the bread
when they finally recognize him.
All of this happens on the first day of the week,
the very day that the women had discovered Jesus’ empty tomb.
On one level, the story is about the experience of Jesus’ disciples
after his death and Resurrection;
on another level, it is the story of Jesus’ disciples
in later eras and circumstances, who also meet him on their journey.
On that “later” era level, it puts a name (acedia – below)
and allows us to put flesh and blood on what we are going through today,
and how we can experience Jesus present to us and among us on our journey.
Those who hear this account can see
their own questions, actions, and emotions
in those of the two Emmaus-bound disciples.
And Jesus’ words and deeds teach every generation about
his identity and how he is present among them.
The two parts of today’s Gospel
(journeying with Jesus; meal with Jesus)
reflect the two parts of our Eucharistic celebration:
Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist.
As the two disciples met Jesus in both word and sacrament,
so too does the Church.
When the disciples finally recognized Jesus
and remembered that their hearts were burning within them
as he explained the Scriptures,
they returned to the community in Jerusalem.
Like these two disciples who told how Jesus was made known to them,
now all who participate in the liturgy also go forth
to bring the Good News to others.
Today we are temporarily deprived of
celebrating these two dynamics of liturgy
(interacting with God’s Bible
and the bread and wine of the Communion Meal).
in person, and in community.
Maybe, when we can again assemble, this temporary deprivation can stir
a deeper experience of healing than we have felt for quite a while,
or maybe that can be a totally new and healthy gift to us!
We should not hesitate to share our burden of sadness with the risen Lord and invite him to walk with us.
If we do so, he will open the saving message of Scripture,
a message that leads us to the Eucharist,
where we too can recognize Jesus “in the breaking of bread.”
Indeed, Word and Sacrament are
THE two greatest antidotes to spiritual sadness,
and as we see in the Emmaus episode,
they are deeply bound together.
When we listen humbly, prayerfully, and persistently to the Word of God,
the causes of our sadness are unearthed and revealed.
Room – indeed, hunger – is created in our hearts
for the presence of Jesus.
At the Last Supper, Jesus promised his disciples,
“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you” (John 14:18).
On Easter Sunday, he stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).
If ever we are tempted to despair,
let us ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit
to open our hearts anew to the crucified and risen Lord.
And as the Church solemnly celebrates the resurrection of Christ,
his triumph over sin and death,
may we recognize his saving, Eucharistic presence and rejoice.
Is the Emmaus Journey the cure also for the “other virus” infecting us?
ACEDIA (a–se’–di-a)- “THE OTHER VIRUS” WE ARE DEALING WITH
I recently discovered a new (to me) medicinal use for chocolate!
But that is part of the cure. What is the disease (“dis-ease”)?
What was causing the disciples on the way to Emmaus “dis-ease”?
What is causing us “dis-ease” / our human spirit is not at ease?
Human suffering can be caused by events or syndromes,
or root causes that are physical, or emotional, or mental, or relational.
And, of course, those root causes must be addressed as part of the cure.
But very often the beginning and root of the cure is also,
or principally, spiritual – experienced and actively engaged at the spiritual level.
Also, sometimes help for the cure is needed from counselors
in the medical professions, and psychology and psychiatry.
Also, very often help is at hand
from spiritual directors,
and consciously interacting with practices of quiet and silence,
and consciously interacting with some of the religious practices
which have lapsed for us or been neglected over the years.
These days / this go-around
with the spiritual dis-ease we are experiencing,
in addition to dealing with the physical corona virus itself,
is how that physical virus is affecting our human spirits.
What are the symptoms?
Millions of Americans today are forced to
be hermits and live an isolated or monastic kind of existence.
Our Western culture is a very noisy and gregarious culture,
individualistic and unused to major periods of
self-reflection and various expressions of quiet and silence.
All of a sudden, self-quarantine and isolation and social distancing
are our new lifestyle.
Our new spiritual virus spreads rapidly through confined quarters.
For some, being forced to spend long hours with family can be hellish.
When this happens, it creates an urge to lash out;
but there is no place to run to.
Or, on the other end of the same spectrum, it might be, e.g.,
the isolation of older people, especially those in nursing homes;
many are forced to eat their meals alone in their rooms.
This can be a debilitating experience.
In some ways, this virus is known by what it is not.
It is not clinical depression.
But it is accompanied by sadness and restlessness.
Resentments and unforgiveness can be blown out of proportion
at times like these.
Or it might be a feeling of being totally bored
and totally restless at the same time.
These can be a horrible combination.
So how do hundreds of millions of newly minted, if reluctant,
stay-at-homes deal with the experience?
It helps to establish a daily routine.
Getting up and going to bed at the same time everyday helps.
Times set aside for morning and/or evening prayer,
mealtimes, work times are helpful;
routine is the key.
It is like a scaffolding / buttressing,
akin to the way buildings are reinforced,
much like our spiritual and emotional lives need support.
Take a shower and wash your hair every day;
little items of grooming, when neglected,
can create a feeling of “Why bother?”
Take a walk, keeping in mind social distance concerns.
There is nothing wrong with simple pleasures as well.
Here is where the chocolate might come in.
[Just don’t make it the prime or sole prescription for regaining health.]
Another possibility is the engagement of and re-connecting with
practices we grew up with, which now must be interacted with
in ways that are at a deeper level, more mature, and evolving –
the rosary, litanies, Bible praying
(not just Bible (informational) study, but getting inside the Bible stories
and interacting with the dynamics and the characters / persons in the stories).
Another possible help or relief is the prayerful reading of the psalms.
The psalms are unsurpassed as spiritual buttresses.
They can also be shocking in their reflection of brutal human feeling.
Sometimes we don’t connect to a particular psalm.
But keep reading until you find a psalm that speaks to your mind.
Every human emotion is there.
Spirituality can suffuse the most mundane of tasks
for those forced to stay home and live as hermits.
For example, recite the Lord’s Prayer to the rhythm of washing your hands.
Or listening to music to accompany other tasks during cleaning chores – really listening,
rather than just filling space with “white noise.”
Take opportunities not to be totally self-absorbed.
For example, make a point of thanking your postal deliverer
for working during the pandemic.
Connect via social media with family members more frequently,
and with friends you haven’t seen for a while,
or who might need some affirmation.
Sometimes it seems as if a cloud is hanging over our heads –
not a specific problem or threat to our well-being,
but rather a general feeling of sadness and anxiety
that overshadows our culture.
Especially as people become more divided and isolated,
such melancholy makes it harder to face problems,
whether in our personal lives, or in the Church, or in society.
This kind of despondency, common in many developed countries,
often accompanies a decline in religious practice.
It seems more than coincidental
that where belief in God and religious practice have waned,
there is a corresponding rise in a vague unhappiness and insecurity.
We live in an age in which many people reject a “given” nature to things.
People might be tempted to think
that science has disproven the validity of religious faith
and assert a radical right to absolute self-determination.
This worldview, however, is itself a source of anxiety.
When faced with the idea of a godless universe and a finite horizon,
we human beings instinctively feel as though we are trapped inside a box.
We are made for more.
This spiritual virus probably surfaced regularly throughout history.
Probably some of these same symptoms showed up
during the great recession of 2008 and/or its predecessor in 1929.
The 1918 pandemic of the Spanish Flu
no doubt saw some of this same activity.
9-11-01 also comes to mind.
The outbreaks of the Black Death in medieval times
would have been a prime opportunity.
Early Christians were persecuted for centuries,
and no doubt experienced
some or many forms of this pall over world history.
Endless progressions of wars, the ramping up of slavery,
earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes across the millennia
probably were prime outcroppings.
And on and on and on throughout history.
Over the centuries, billions of people survived
amid many bleak cultural landscapes,
sometimes / often falling into what was described as
a torpor / noonday devil, a warning sign for acedia.
In the face of numbing temptations
to languor, listlessness, apathy, and all the rest,
they devised the rhythms and mindset of monastic life,
that has inspired history to meet and turn to profit
the debilitating downsides of pursuing a better way of living.
They couldn’t stream movies on Netflix.
They couldn’t run to the liquor store to stock up on their favorite brew.
I am not sure whether chocolate was readily available
at all those times and in all those places.
Mac n’ cheese hadn’t yet been invented.
I don’t know if folks had yet learned to bake chocolate chip cookies.
Most people could not run to the gym or buy self-help books.
Yoga classes were not accessible, at least not in the West.
So, to begin or to continue to grapple with this spiritual virus
was / is a major service from our ancestors!
Until recently I did not know there is a name for this spiritual dis-ease
that has been thrust upon us.
The desert monks of the fourth century devised a word for what ails us.
The word is “acedia” (a se’-di-a).
The symptoms of acedia have been present throughout history.
It just fell to the fourth century to name this curse / opportunity – depending on how you look at it.
Symptoms vary from person to person,
from one locale to another,
and from one situation to another.
This variety makes it harder to diagnose,
and no one remedy suits every outcropping of this spiritual virus.
But the framework of the Emmaus journey is flexible enough
for Jesus Christ to adapt and interact with us
as individuals and as communities in ways that are always “form-fit.”
This Sunday is the third Sunday in Easter. It is Easter Morning and we meet two disciples leaving Jerusalem. Who can blame them? Jerusalem is now a place of pain, sorrow, and loss. It is a place of death, unmet expectations, and disappointment for them. They had hoped that Jesus would be the great savoir. It is a place where their lives were shattered. No one wants to stay in that place. Certainly today, we understand being in that place. These two men are met on the road to Emmaus by a traveler as they walk and talk recalling what has taken place and they invite the traveler in to eat and rest. As they are breaking bread together they come to know the traveler is the Risen Christ, who disappears immediately. Reflecting back they said “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us?” The two shift from intellectual information to and inner conversion of the heart. This change of heart is the basis of faith, and in this new faith-perception their eyes were opened to see that the stranger was Jesus. They could not see God in the recent events. Jesus opened their eyes to the possibility that God could be present even in suffering and death. Quickly they return to Jerusalem to tell the others what has happened. Jesus meets people exactly where they are: Mary Magdalene in her weeping, Thomas in his doubting, the group in the upper room in their fear. Here he meets two disciples in their disillusionment and despair. He did not reveal himself immediately and shame them for walking away or giving up hope, instead he simply accompanies them as a companion along the way, respects their experience and lets them tell their story to the end. This is what we are called to do as the Church, fortified by the Spirit, equipped with the Scriptures, we walk alongside travelers offering the hospitality of the Risen Lord.
Every Sunday as part of our journey we embark on our road to Emmaus, though gathering as a community may be different today, God sees our hearts and minds and wants to meet us in the midst of our lives whatever they may be like. We open the Scriptures to help us see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Sometimes we struggle to see the hand of God in our lives and need someone to help interpret for us, but we are never alone on the journey. With all that is going on right now, many feel overwhelmed, deeply disappointed, lost, like our world has been turned upside down and we want to run away. We have big questions about today and tomorrow and we can feel shattered. We return each Sunday to try to reclaim ourselves, to recover the lost pieces our ourselves. It takes time and effort. It is not always easy and it can be painful. It means trusting that somehow the shatters of our lives will become the pieces for a new life, a new seeing, a new way of living. God wastes nothing. Take a moment to ponder where you are in this story. Are you leaving Jerusalem shattered? What are you running from? What is your disappointment or unmet expectation? Or are you on your way to Emmaus recounting? What are you wrestling to understand? How can respectful conversation help bring healing? Where are you spiritually hungry? What needs to be broken open? Or are you returning to Jerusalem to share the Good News? What are you running towards? What has been restored? How have your eyes been opened? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. There is only your answer. Whatever your answer may be, it describes the intersection of Jesus’ life and our life. Jesus meets us where we are, listens and accompanies us on the journey. We can be so absorbed by what is happening to us that we do not recognize the presence of Christ walking the journey with us in the presence of someone else around us. Once we realize who this unique traveling companion really is, our hearts too will burn within us, our eyes too will be opened, and we too will look at life with the assurance of faith.
We Are Not Alone
Profession of Faith
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Prayers of the Faithful
Christ is risen and present among us.
Let us pray for our world that needs the presence of the risen Christ.
For the Church:
May we do all we can to end all that harms society: greed, apathy, hatred, fear, oppression, disease, and the general disregard for others…
We pray to the Lord,
For the leaders of our world:
May they set aside agendas to explore all efforts to care for those who are in need…
We pray to the Lord,
For the opportunity to discuss respectfully all that is causing discord and division in our world, community, and homes…
We pray to the Lord,
For those who are overcome with fear, anxiety, or loneliness through isolation:
May we find ways to bring them comfort…
We pray to the Lord,
For strength and perseverance to care for those suffering from COVID-19 across the globe:
for those in economic distress, for the sick, the vulnerable, the dying, and those who mourn…
We pray to the Lord,
For those who have died, all our sisters and brothers spread throughout the world…
May they delight in the new life that awaits us all, promised to us by the risen Jesus…
We pray to the Lord,
God of life,
help us to see every encounter as a dwelling of your holy presence.
Instill in us a passion that can lead us to lasting peace.
Come guide our steps on the journey.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.