Third Sunday of Easter
Are we ever alone?
That is a question I often ponder. I’ve come to the conclusion, that we are never alone.
Another question I ask myself quite often is, how often do we encounter Angels? Or even Christ?
Again, I’ve come to the conclusion that we probably encounter Heavenly spirits as well as evil unholy spirits often…
Many years ago, the singer Joan Osborne had a one hit wonder, where she sang the lyrics:
If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin' to make his way home?
In our Gospel reading this morning we find two of Jesus’ disciples walking along outside of Jerusalem having a rather deep conversation about what they had witnessed during the past week.
I can only imagine what they must have been feeling and thinking about. I’m sure they were still in shock.
One ordinary day, back in 1992, I was at work. I had no idea what was about to happen.
I was paged to the office, where a nurse from my mother’s doctor office was on the phone. She said that I needed to go to the ER as quickly as possible; my dad was being admitted with chest pains.
I was really confused because my mother was the one having health issues.
I repeated back to her, “My father is being admitted?”
She confirmed, “Yes, your dad.”
I arrived at the hospital just down the street from my work to find my mother distraught waiting with a nurse, who happened to be a Catholic Nun.
My dad was being prepped for an angiogram and possible angioplasty or open heart surgery depending on what they found inside his heart.
Mom and I were able to see my dad before the procedure; hugs and tears and I love You’s were exchanged.
The Nun then escorted my mom and me to a waiting room.
When we walked through the doors, it was full of anxious, worried faces. There were no chairs except at a table where two other individuals were sitting working on a jigsaw puzzle.
Mom and I were just trying to mind our own business and discuss what had happened earlier that landed my dad in the hospital.
Back to our Gospel….
As the disciples were talking, all of a sudden this stranger started to speak to them.
The stranger asks them what they are talking about and the disciples couldn’t believe that this stranger didn’t know or hadn’t heard about what happened days before in Jerusalem.
“Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”
Now the stranger was of course Jesus, only his identity was hidden from the disciples.
Jesus asks them, “What things?”
As my Mom and I waited in that room, we sat at the table where these two individuals were working on the puzzle.
My mom was on one side of the table and I was on the other side.
For lack of a better term, I will call these two individuals women.
These women seem to know why everyone in the room was there and all their business.
One of these women looked me directly in the eyes and asked me why I was there.
I told her.
She then looked directly into my eyes again, and through these strangely piercing eyes, she said to me, “Your dad is going to just fine.”
I thought to myself, how could she possibly know this.
After the Disciples had told the stranger the events of the week, how confused they were that the tomb was empty and how some of their friends had encountered angels at the tomb, The stranger says to them:
“Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
I must have looked skeptical when the Woman told me my dad was going to be fine.
She reached out, and touched my arm. It was at that moment, that I realized that this was not a human being that I was sitting next to me. I also had the sensation that everything was going to be fine. My dad would be healed.
The disciples walked on, and the stranger that had joined them, walked ahead of them.
They talked him into joining them and staying with them as the day was turning into evening.
It was at the dinner table, that the Stranger, Jesus, took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
Then “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.”
Mom and I were approached by the same nun that had taken us to this waiting room, and told that the procedure was over and we could go visit my dad in his room.
They were able to clear the blockage with the angioplasty and he was going to be just fine.
Mom and I were so relieved. We decided to go back to the waiting room and share the good news.
We rounded the corner, and the once-crowded room, was now empty. No one in sight.
The two Women had vanished as well.
Are we ever alone? Were these two individuals Angels? I believe they were.
Did the two disciples share time with their Lord after he had died? Yes indeed.
One of my favorite speeches comes from actor Robert Duvall in the movie, "Second Hand Lions":
"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most.
That people are basically good.
That honor, courage and virtues mean everything.
That power and money, money and power mean nothing; that Good always triumphs over Evil;
and I want you to remember this: That Love, true Love never dies.
Doesn't matter if any of this is true or not.
You see a man should believe in these things because these are the things worth believing in."
I believe we encounter spiritual beings every day. It is up to us to discern and recognize this or not.
I know I encounter two Angels that day in the Hospital.
I also know, that even though I wasn’t there at the crucifixion and empty tomb that our dear Lord died for me and rose again to save my soul.
Let us rejoice in this news and celebrate his resurrection every day in every situation.
The Lord has Risen. The Lord has Risen indeed. Amen