Wednesday, April 15, 2020



Flocks of geese for days now have been flying further north, the wild rabbits, which inhabit this city, are changing their white coats to brown; the various winter birds have headed south; songbirds are returning and singing with joy,  as the snow, like a lowering tide retreating to the ocean, slips away from lawns and flower beds, albeit slowly, but perceptively. The sounds of people raking away leaves and other debris, preparing for summer flowers and green lawns is the fanfare of hope, all will be renewed again, for hope, like spring, always comes new.

These are normal aspects of unfolding spring, yet this year I see them as examples of human resilience, even a type of defiance telling this pandemic that while it may wound us, it cannot defeat us.

The main cause of our hope, joy, courage, originates not within ourselves, though we must choose to act from the basis of the hope, joy, courage offered us.

The source of our hope, joy, courage is not found in any book on how to cope, or handle emotions or some kind of how to get through this, keeping a mind this is new for everyone, so no one has gone through it yet. If they have where are the breadcrumbs to follow?

Greater than all that is the One who loves us, listens to us, takes all our anguish and questions upon Himself and more, within Himself, and walks with us so that neither on the unusual walking during this crisis distant from one another, or virtually immobile in isolation: He is as close to each of us as a desperately needed hug.

All the above flows from the beautiful Easter Event of Jesus with the men walking on the road to Emmaus: Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. [Lk.24:13,14]

People are talking, have been for weeks. The media seems obsessed with all COVID news all the time, so much so we hear very little else about what is happening within the world. This creates an Alice Through the Looking Glass distortion of information about the rest of life on earth within the human family and actually adds to stress and fear, which erode hope and joy, and frequently spreads bogus information.

And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them [v15]

Jesus, 24/7 as the saying goes, seeks to walk with us, to listen to what we have to say, to take it into the depths of His compassionate, understanding Heart – if we are willing.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. [v.17]

Most of the rest of the chapter is the dialogue between Jesus and the two men, identified as disciples.

The danger is to read any of the Gospel as merely a nice, even comforting story from long ago!

Sacred Scripture is alive and immediate and is intended, when we contemplate it, to enable to us to see and say, yeah, Jesus is Risen, Jesus is Alive, Jesus is walking with me!

……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?” [vs.30-32]

Love recognizes love.

It is part of the mystery of God that He acts so generously…..He continues to knock gently at the doors of our hearts and slowly opens our eyes if we open our doors to Him. [1]

[1] Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI: JESUS OF NAZARETH, p. 276; Ignatius Press 2011

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

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