Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hide and Seek (Part 2) (2014-05-04)

[__01__]       The season of the resurrection for the first disciples was a time of hiding.

And, in last Sunday’s Gospel, we observe them in their hideout of the Upper Room, the place of the Last Supper.

Last Sunday, the disciples were in hiding…

This Sunday, we might say that Jesus himself is in hiding …or at least not fully visible / recognized.

[__02__]     On the one hand, Jesus is walking – publicly on a road, on the road to Emmaus. He is out in broad daylight for others to see him, his clothing, his face.

Yet, the two disciples do not recognize him at first.  Is he simply undercover?

Is this a test? We have seen – or heard about these undercover tests undertaken by executives trying to learn about what their employees really do (“Undercover Boss”) or … in one recent case… a celebrity actor who is not realizing how hidden he really is…

For example, about a week or so ago, the Hollywood actor, Richard Gere, put on ordinary clothing, went to the streets of New York to be on location – in New York at Grand Central Station – to film a movie.

Mr. Gere was doing his scene as a homeless and hungry person..and going through some discarded items…

Now, on the same street was a family from Paris… French tourists. They did not realize that they had stumbled onto a film shoot on location ..and that Mr. Gere was not a hungry resident of the streets.

So, a member of the family approaches Mr. Gere and offers him food…

And, on tape, we see that his identity – his famous face – is ignored.  A point that you and I may be tempted – or may actually do – ignore the identity of suffering and impoverished people.

We travel past them in a way similar to the rich man of the parable in the Gospel of Luke. That is, this is the rich man who leaps and jumps over Lazarus at his doorstep. Maybe, he was just going out the door to pick up the Star-Ledger newspaper…how did he miss Lazarus?

[__03__]     God calls us to be charitable, generous … but first we are called to recognize – to identify – to call by name the person we are helping.

In a way, this incident with Richard Gere proved many of us might give …but we might also not stop to say hello or get to know the person.
[__04__]      In the Gospel of the road to Emmaus, is Jesus actually hidden?

We might observe that Jesus starts out visible – in broad daylight… but then, suddenly, in the moment of the breaking of the bread, he is hidden. He vanishes from before the 2 disciples.

[__05__]     Brothers and sisters – boys and girls – This is also the miracle of the sacrament of Holy Communion.

For this your First Communion day, you have studied, you have learned about Jesus, about his birth, Christmas at Bethlehem, his miracles, his willigness to die on the cross. Jesus makes himself visible.

Yet, this Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion, is also given to us to remain hidden.

Now, I don’t mean that you and I hide our Catholic or Christian identity.

Rather, I mean that -- receiving Jesus – in First Communion – we allow our life and his life to be hidden together, to be mixed together.

Boys and girls – remember that God loves you and wants to hide himself in your heart, in your mind.  Receiving the body and blood of Christ, he becomes hidden – his life is hidden within us.

[__06__]     A very traditional way of praying as Catholics is that we hide or come before the Blessed Sacrament in a private conversation with our Lord and Savior.

We can do this at Mass or before/after Mass … or, especially, any time that we come into the church building. We believe that the Lord dwells here, hides here so that we might carry his love…

To the road on the road to Emmaus, on the road to school, to home…and on the road to our salvation and home in heaven with him.

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