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Deacon Timothy Tilghman

Third Sunday of Easter

“And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him” (Lk. 24:13-35).

In the midst of the world’s madness, it’s easy to miss Jesus. What is stopping you from seeing him?

We hear Cleopas say to Jesus: “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days” (Lk. 24:18)? They were curious about what happened to Jesus but unwilling to stay for the full story of the Resurrection; they had lots to share on the road with one who was not imposing on them.; they had lots to share on the road with one who was not imposing on them. Is the soft witness to one who you will encounter only for a night easier than an in-depth witness in a communal conversation about how we know Christ?

And, the brothers continued in the conversation: “… but we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place” (Lk. 24:21). When hope is genuine, people gravitate to the source of hope. Jesus is the source. They knew where he was going to be, and they chose to go elsewhere. Why skip the Resurrection event?

Are you one in the community who has to be first? “Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body ..." (Lk. 24:22-23). This is a frequent occurrence in our church! Sisters take the lead, and brothers might not show up for the encounter.

What is stopping you from witnessing the living Word? A rumor with a leg to stand on will find some other way to get around, and yet, we cannot get the truth out in the neighborhood. Have you shared your experience of the truth? Who knows where you have been, what your struggles were, and how to overcome them?

Have you been studying the word and stopping before you get to the next chapter? When you pick up a good book, you’re excited about turning the next page. You are not alone! Do you want to meet Jesus? Your faith journey requires you to turn the next page and read the next chapter.

I agonized as I prepared this reflection because most people who have reflected on the story remember that Cleopas and his companion were going to Emmaus, which is not where Jesus was. What’s the cause for joy here? “Were not our heart burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us? So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem…” (Lk. 24:32-33). What is stopping you from seeing Jesus? Stopping the conversation – not continuing the walk – not asking questions. Christ surrounded you with brothers and sisters who are hungry for the opportunity to witness and walk in communion with you and me. The story of Lent (Passion, Death, and Resurrection) begins with these words from Ash Wednesday: “Repent! Turn away from sin, and believe in the gospel!” Nothing is stopping you, and when you stay in the conversation, you will be led to turn away and do as the brothers did: “So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them…” Life in Christ begins in communion with those who share your faith.

Author: Deacon Timothy Tilghman, the Deacon in the Neighborhood, St. Teresa of Avila Church, Washington, DC.

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