What a difference a few weeks make. We have been living with Covid 19 for less than 2 months but these last weeks have changed our perspective profoundly, haven’t they?
I found myself listening to Sunday’s Gospel reading – Luke 24 – the road to Emmaus – in a way that was coloured by our current situation. So I was wondering if Cleopas and his companion were walking along the road maintaining social distance. Perhaps, I thought, the companion was Cleopas’ wife, Mary, and then they could have still walked together. But how different the story would have been, during this time of isolation. The stranger would have struggled to share the scriptures in a meaningful way, if they had had to maintain a conversation with a gap of 2 meters between them, and of course, there would have been no way Cleopas and his companion could have offered hospitality for the night to the stranger.
Of course I’m just being fanciful. Jesus was able to come alongside the two people and speak to them with love and concern – to listen to their pain and then share with them the hope of God’s overwhelming plan. Cleopas and his fellow traveller were eager to offer hospitality and draw their unknown companion of the road into their home and to their meal, so that in the sharing of the meal Jesus was revealed to them in his resurrection glory. And they could return to the crowded room where Jesus’ followers were congregated to share with them all the Easter joy.
While I’m being fanciful this story is still profoundly important to our time now.
Many of us feel as if we are journeying through this time alone – carrying the grief of families separated and the knowledge of loss and death close at hand. It is in these times that Jesus draws near to us – to walk along the way beside us, listening to our pain and, if we are willing to listen, help us learn and grow from this time. There are no rules of social isolation that prevent us from opening the doors of our lives to that welcome guest. Jesus comes to eat with us at every solitary meal we have – breaking bread for us and inviting us to share in the abundance that is his, and his alone, to offer.
With this in mind, remember that although you may not see him he is there beside you, listening, sharing, loving you and as you sit down to each meal through this time, remember that Christ is there, sharing with you, breaking the bread of his body for you so that you might share in his risen life.
Yours lord is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty
for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
All things come from you, and of your own do we give you.
1 Chronicles 29:11