• Fr. Daniel Gifford

RECOGNIZING THE RISEN CHRIST

Dear St. Louis Parishioners,

This weekend’s Gospel opens with two disciples returning to Jerusalem and it is mentioned that they began to recount “what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.”

So what happened “on the way”? Well, naturally, the best way to find the answer is in the context of the text itself (so, check out Luke 24:13-35). The story of the these two disciples on the Road to Emmaus is one of the great Resurrection stories of the Gospel. It has been seen as a paradigm or model, both for the Mass and for a Bible Study. Even though they don’t recognize Him, our Lord draws near to them, engages them in dialogue about what they were already discussing (His own paschal mystery), and He breaks open the Scriptures to them, explaining how all that was written in the Old Testament pointed toward His Death and Resurrection. His explanation makes their hearts burn for more. This portion of the story is the model for the Liturgy of the Word: as we break open the Scriptures, our hearts begin to burn for a deeper encounter. Then, we finally begin to recognize Him “in the breaking of the bread.” This is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is that profound Encounter in which we meet the Risen Christ, hopefully recognize Him, and change the direction of our lives if necessary, just as the disciples gave up their flight to Emmaus and returned to the Apostles in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the time on the road in which our Lord engages them in dialogue, in order to open both their hearts and the Scriptures becomes also a model for a Bible Study. This is why the beautiful painting of “The Road to Emmaus” by Robert Zund (front cover) is one of the two images that I personally chose for the Saint Jerome Room during the design process (I will focus on the other next week). Many different events and meetings take place there, but it’s primary purpose is for groups using it to break open the Scriptures together (like Jerome himself), in a dialogue that also opens the heart and enables them to grow together as intentional disciples of Jesus Christ in the heart of the Church. These encounters make the heart burn for the ultimate Encounter: the Eucharist. May we recognize Him and allow Him to direct the course of our lives.

LAST SUNDAY: Words cannot describe what a beautiful celebration last Sunday was, with both the prayers and the party to celebrate the Divine Mercy of the Risen Christ. So many people worked hard and donated time, talent, and treasure to make it such a blessed and overjoyed celebration. In particular, I want to thank Rachel Bystry for her organizational efforts, especially with the children’s activities, Susanna Prushinski for her coordination of the food, and Cathy Trowbridge for organizing the leading of our devotional Divine Mercy prayers. Thank you all, including all who volunteered and just came to join in the celebration.

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!