Living the Gospel – April 26, 2020

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In the time of Jesus, the road to Emmaus was one that led to a city of worldly pleasures and the many opportunities to satisfy wanton desires. The disciples were filled with bitter disappointment; their Messiah had been publicly crucified, taking their dreams and hopes of a new leader with him to the grave. Feeling they no longer had a purpose, the two lost men left the community Jesus had started and were headed to town. Perhaps they hoped to bury their troubles with some form of worldly abandon. Fortunately for them, the two straying disciples met Jesus on the way who showed them God’s pattern. After sharing a meal with their Lord once again, they realized they needed to return to Jerusalem.

Even today, people choose to “drown their troubles” with a drink, or many drinks. They may cover their frustration and disappointment by having a night on the town. Local jails are filled with people who have become bitter with disillusionment and retaliate by breaking “rules” they feel have led to their pain.

With our current quarantine, a night on the town isn’t an option, but we all have our own ways of protesting life’s cruelty. For me, I prefer to bury myself in a book, escaping to another world where happy endings win out. My husband likes to pick up the phone and chat with people since he cannot go visit in person. If you follow Facebook, you might believe a great number of people are having an extra drink or two to “help them cope.”

But the truth is, what I need to do is to draw closer to God. I may not be able to participate in Mass every Sunday, but there is no good reason I can’t “attend” daily Mass on YouTube. I could seek comfort by saying the rosary, praying for heavenly protection. I could learn the Chaplet of Mercy. God only knows we all could use a good dose of that about now. But with all these healthy choices what do I do? I stick some more junk food in the microwave and pretend it’s dinner. I refuse to think about what others are facing, and I turn inward, bemoaning my problems.

I am on my own road to Emmaus, journeying away from the community of believers. It has been a self-centered journey of pain and disillusion. I have been focusing on how my plans have been thwarted and paying scant attention to what God has in mind. It’s time for me to banish my despair and seek Jesus. He is here, but I have to open my heart and set aside my deliberate blindness to see him. I need to follow the example of the two disciples and turn back to God, not turn my back on God.

Linda Crowley