I have three points I wish to make about this Gospel of St. Luke’s:
FIRST. This is the Gospel I have chosen to have read at my funeral. The reason being that I will have soon spent 35 years of my life doing the two things mentioned in this Gospel: breaking open the Scriptures so that others may better understand them. And breaking the bread - so that others my recognize and receive Christ in the Eucharist.
And hopefully I have made a few hearts burn along the way.
I encourage all of you: to pre-plan your funeral– as I have– so that others don’t have to agonize over what you might want.
Choose Scripture readings that mean something to you. Choose songs that have spoken to you over the years.
Write them down, and give them to your children or others who will need to sit down some day and plan your funeral.
I have placed some materials in the Gathering Space if you need a form to write them down.
Give the gift of peace of heart to your loved ones by making your wishes known by pre-planning your funeral.
Since I did my planning years ago – they do need to be updated. For instance since the Bishop usually presides at a priest’s funeral - I think this can be dropped from my funeral plan:
“It is my desire that Bishop Robert Finn NOT be the celebrant of my funeral. If Bishop Raymond Boland is still living, I would like him to be the celebrant. My other choices would be Fr. Lloyd Opoka or Mike Roach.”
THE SECOND POINT: This reading from Luke gives us the two main parts of the Mass: the liturgy of the word: when we listen to the word of God proclaimed, hopefully explained in the homily, and we offer our prayers of petition to God — AND the liturgy of the Eucharist: when the gifts are brought forward and through the power of the Holy Spirit they are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ – and we consume these gifts –
hopefully becoming what we eat – the very image of Christ.
These two main parts of the Mass are framed by two smaller parts: the introductory rites - which transitions us into this sacred space and time —- and the closing prayers - which challenge us to go out and live the Gospel.
We celebrate the Mass to hopefully make us different – a little more Christ-like – as we leave than when we first arrived.
So basically we live the Emmaus story every week – we gather together on our journey through the introductory rites – we listen to the word of God in the liturgy of the word – we receive the Body of Christ in the liturgy of the Eucharist –
then we carry the good news of meeting Christ back to Jerusalem – or wherever it is we return home to.
THE THIRD POINT I WISH TO MAKE: If you were with us on Easter Sunday – then you heard me say that the work of Lent was to pray, fast, and give alms – and I think the work of Easter is to open our eyes, our ears, and mostly our hearts – to recognize all the ways the Risen Christ is trying to break into our lives and bring us the gift of new life.
So I love the line in this Gospel when it says that after Jesus broke bread with them: “with that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”
For gosh sakes – they were walking and talking with Jesus for miles – yet failed to recognize him???
But before you and I get a little too judgy – how often has the same thing happened to us?
We spend time with Jesus - -but because of our blindness due to prejudice, judgment, disregard, lack of respect, failure to listen, or just plain stubbornness and narrow thinking –
We miss the presence of the risen Christ in our midst!!
So along with Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia – may this be our Easter Anthem:
Open my eyes, Lord, help me to see your face.
Open my ears Lord - help me to hear.
Open my heart lord, help me to love like you - I live within you, rest now in me.
Moments in time...