Friday, May 2, 2014

May 3, 2014

The Road to Emmaus

The journey is a common theme in Luke as is the concept of Faith as seeing.

It was Easter Sunday when two men were walking back to Emmaus, a distance of about 7 miles from Jerusalem. They were confused, they were troubled, and they were heading back home where they could forget about the whole thing.

Because, for the two men from Emmaus, Easter passed them by. Christ was raised from the dead, and somehow, the magnitude of that event passed them by.  They were there. They were in Jerusalem. They were spending time with the other believers. But somehow,  even though there were involved physically, emotionally and spiritually they were somewhere else.

There are times for us all when we are engaged with church, coming to worship and spending time with other Christians but, for whatever reason, we might be somewhere else in our heads or we might be going through a spiritually dry time. We are present in body-but not in mind or spirit. And that is why we need the example of the two men because, no matter where they were in their emotions, no matter how spiritually low they felt, the risen Christ came and walked with them anyway.

The beauty of this passage is that Christ understands that the two men are feeling spiritually low. But his presence with them is not dependent on them understanding him. His presence with them is dependent on him understanding them! Christ understands how they feel and so he becomes present to them.

The truth is that Easter comes to them even without them understanding what Easter is all about.

Right from the beginning of the Bible, from the story in the Garden of Eden where God goes looking for Adam and Eve...right through to the end of the Bible in the Book of Revelation where the risen Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” the Biblical story is one of God seeking after us.

Even though we do not understand. Even when we are hiding from him. Even when the door is locked. Even when we are not looking for him….God comes looking for us and is present with us.

Easter—the resurrected Christ-comes to us and that is love.

This is love, that God comes into the chaos of our emotional lives. As Paul says in Romans, “if we have been united with him in his death, we shall certainly be united with him in his resurrection.”

Christ is resurrected in us and his resurrection becomes our resurrection. The cold, dark tomb of our emotional turmoil and lack of understanding is the place that is transformed by Christ into a resurrection chamber.

The light of Christ fills the darkness of our sadness and turmoil.

So ironically, when we are feeling lost and far away from God, that is the time when we are closest to him. Because Jesus understands. Jesus understands what it is like to feel far from God. Jesus cried out on the Cross, my God, my God why have you forsaken me?” And  if we are united with him in his path, we are certainly united with him in his resurrection. Christ understands—and so he walks with us on our Emmaus Road.

Christ was with them. Christ walked with them. Christ talked to them and taught them from the Scriptures. Christ ate with them...and still they did not respond to him as their Lord.

But Christ stayed with them in their ignorance and darkness and so he stays with us even when we do not have the strength or the understanding or the wit to respond appropriately to him as Lord. That is love.

Christ comes to us—he dwells with us in our community. As Paul says to the Corinthians, “Do you know that you are the temple of God?” As Jesus promised, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The Easter message is one of a God who comes to us and walks with us; a God who comes to us in the ordinary and dwells with us in the ordinary, transforming the ordinary into the eternal.

And when the ordinary of our lives—the pains, the struggles, the turmoil.. When the ordinary is transformed into the eternal.. It is them that we begin to understand ourselves and God.

At this Easter time, we are reminded that Christ comes to us. He walks with us on our road, in the ordinary of our lives. The presence of Christ with us is not dependent on how holy we might be or how strong we are in the faith, it is dependent soley on the fact that he chooses to be present with us and his deep love for us.

Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will refresh you.” Let’s just rest in that promise and allow Christ to come to us in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine. Amen

In honor of the Feast of St. Sharbel, on Thursday May 8th,  Sayedna Elias A. Zaidan will celebrate a  Liturgy at St. Raymond’s Cathedral at 6:30 pm followed by a town hall meeting  at the Maronite Heritage Institute  at 7:30  pm We have moved the location as there will be a large party in the Cedars Hall.  Everyone is invited to attend the Liturgy and meeting. Sayedna Zaidan will  run the meeting and will answer any questions to the best of his ability

The forms for the NAM scholarship and St. Raymond’s Scholarship are in the vestibule of the church. Please remember the deadline of May 12th. No applications will be accepted after that date.

Mark your calendars for the NAM convention:
July 2-6 in Pittsburgh, PA. Registration forms are  available in the vestibule of the church.
The Men’s Society is hosting the 23rd annual golf tournament June 22, 2014 honoring John Nassif. Entry fee is $100 per golfer, $400 per foursome. Early registration and payment prior to the day of the event is greatly appreciated. Contact Mike Rask with any questions: or (314) 393-3787.
Due to special events in the month of May, the Ladies and Men’s society meetings have been changed.  In honor of the Blessed Mother, The Ladies Society will begin their monthly meeting on Tuesday May 13th with a Liturgy at 6:30 pm followed by a Living Rosary to the Shrine by the Pastoral Center and a Blessing with the Icon of the Blessed Mother.  The Ladies will proceed with their meeting in the Lebanon Room. All members are encouraged to attend this special evening.
The Men’s Society will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday May 15th at 6:30 pm in the Lebanon Room. All members are encouraged to attend. Please share the change of date with your friends and family
Kristy Sholy         Grant Gamma
Munir Abu-Nader          Mary Catherine Slinkard
Savahnnah Suleiman
Sincere thanks to Mrs. Joan Rask for instructing them and guiding them during the year for this special day.
Attending the Liturgy is of central importance for the Family of St. Raymond Parish. After the Sunday Liturgies, we have the great custom of gathering in the Cedar’s to socialize with our families and friends. We would like to add to this tradition by asking families, or a combinations of couples, to host the coffee hour. Please think about volunteering for the Sunday Liturgy that you normally attend. We hope to get a number of people involved in this important ministry. Please  write your names on the sign up sheets in the vestibule of the church.
Loving God,
You wrap your arms around your people and show your everlasting love in the same way a mother loves her children. We are grateful for the love you have taught us through the mothers in our lives: our own mother who brought us into this world, the mothers of friends who have welcomed us into their homes and families, our grandmothers who took time for us,  and the mothers who have helped us even though we were  not their children. Bless all the mothers of this world today. May they know the fullness of love they have shared and be blessed every day of their lives.




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