On this Sunday we remember that our God is near to all of us who seek Him and who want to live in His presence, doing His will. The story of the meeting on the road to Emmaus is the story of a God who will not abandon us when we are hurt and disappointed, when we are feeling abandoned and alone. The story reminds us of Jesus, the Son of God, whom we meet in the breaking of the bread. When we need God most he is closest to us, even though we may not be able to recognise him in our worry or distress. As the English poet and Catholic mystic, Francis Thompson, put it:
He is The Hound of Heaven Who relentlessly follows us when we try to escape from His love.
The Hound of Heaven By Francis Thompson (1859–1907).
The message of today’s scripture readings is that Jesus is never far from his followers and that we can remain in contact with Him through prayer, the Eucharist, and the scriptures. The readings also remind us that our belief in Jesus’ presence in the Blessed Sacrament should help us to better understand his presence in the scriptures and in ourselves as a believing and worshipping community. While we may not be able to gather together and receive the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament at present, we can still gather together spiritually and receive him in our hearts.
Meeting Jesus in Spirit however is not a substitute for the reality, just a promise of what we will return to, when we again can. As Pope Francis reminded us in one of his recent sermons (Pope Francis: 17th April 2020):
Be careful not to virtualise the Church, to virtualise the Sacraments, to virtualise the People of God. The Church, the Sacraments, the People of God are concrete. It’s true that at this moment we must have this familiarity with the Lord in this way, but we must come out of the tunnel, not stay there.
So, until we can all meet together again in the flesh, may we know the Lord’s closeness in the Spirit.
Mass today at St. Teilo’s is at 10.00am – https://stteilos-olol.co.uk/
This week’s Parish Newsletter can be found here