Attitudes Healed on the Road to Emmaus

Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

What a difference it makes to have Jesus in our life! With Jesus we have a positive attitude and enjoy life. How wretched our life would be without Jesus. Without Jesus we would be in a mess. With Jesus in our life we see everything in a new way. This is the positive approach of one woman because she had Jesus in her life:

Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes, we have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty laundry, we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds. They were so warm and so comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy towels and dirty lavatory. They are so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly, it has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of enough leftovers for a few meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today. It has baked so many things over the years.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says you have richly blessed my family. I shall do them all cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

(The above prayer is an excerpt. Unfortunately I do not know the source. If you know the source please inform me so that I can acknowledge. Thanks. More material on positive thinking)

Such a beautiful positive attitude is what we would expect of a disciple of Jesus but such an attitude is not what we meet in the two disciples going from Jerusalem towards Emmaus because they had temporarily lost Jesus. Their faces were downcast. Their hopes had been dashed. They thought Jesus was the Messiah but he had been crucified and died, and with his death their hopes died also. When they came near to Emmaus they stopped, not wishing to continue their journey any longer because it was evening. After recognizing Jesus in the breaking of the bread do you notice the big change that came over them? They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. They had been leaving Jerusalem trying to escape from the reality of a dashed hope. Instead of staying away from Jerusalem now they wanted to go back again to where their hope was dashed. Previously when it was evening they did not have the enthusiasm to continue their journey any longer, and stopped when it was dusk. Now even though it was dark they set out to travel back to Jerusalem by night. What a difference it makes to have Jesus in your life! What a difference it makes to meet Jesus and know him. What a difference to meet Jesus in the Sacred Scriptures of the Bible and in the breaking of the bread. Then your heart burns within you.

When the disciples met Jesus on the road it was a gentle meeting. He walked by their side. He listened to their story. He met them where they were at. He met them at their own level. We too meet Jesus in people who treat us like that, who listen to our stories even if they don’t make sense to them. We meet Jesus in people who have the time to talk to us and listen to our troubles without being patronizing. We meet Jesus in the people who accept us with all our faults and failings. We meet Jesus in the people who help us to have a positive attitude towards life, and by helping us in that way they help us to stop on the road to the depression of Emmaus and return to the joy of our everyday tasks in Jerusalem.

When we meet Jesus then we have the strength to face the difficulties of life. We get this strength from Jesus the same way that the two disciples on the road to Emmaus did, by reading the Sacred Scriptures of the Bible and in the breaking of the bread at Mass. Jesus gave those two disciples a new understanding of Scripture that corrected their erroneous views and they met Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Reading Scripture helps correct our wayward thinking and we meet Jesus in the Eucharist. We all believe that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist but Jesus is also present to us when we read the Bible. Would you consider taking out your Bible and reading from it if you are not doing so? It will heal your thinking just as the thinking of those two disciples on the road to Emmaus was healed. When their thinking was healed they were able to turn around from Emmaus and return to Jerusalem. When we meet Jesus in the Scripture and the Eucharist and have our thinking healed we too can return from Emmaus to Jerusalem and pray like this:

Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes, we have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty laundry, we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds. They were so warm and so comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy towels and dirty lavatory. They are so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly, it has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of enough leftovers for a few meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today. It has baked so many things over the years.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says you have richly blessed my family. I shall do them all cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully. (Author Unknown)

(The above prayer is an excerpt. Unfortunately I do not know the source. If you know the source please inform me so that I can acknowledge. Thanks. More material on positive thinking)

What a difference it makes to have Jesus in our life! With Jesus we have a positive attitude and enjoy life. How wretched our life would be without Jesus. Without Jesus we would be in a mess. Jesus gave the two disciples on the road to Emmaus a new understanding of Scripture that corrected their erroneous views and they met Jesus in the breaking of the bread. When we meet Jesus in the Scripture and the Eucharist and have our thinking healed we too can stop on the road to the depression of Emmaus and return to the joy of our everyday tasks in Jerusalem.

(You may also be interested in my homily Stop Complaining on positive attitudes. See also Stories on Positive Thinking in my Archive of Stories)

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More Homilies for the Third Sunday of Easter Year A

We meet Jesus at Mass like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus 2008

Related Homilies: We are the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus 2013

Homilies on the Eucharist