(Easter Wednesday; This homily was given 11 April, 2007, at Our Lady of Mercy, East Greenwich, R.I.; read Luke 24:13-35)
The readings following Easter Sunday—all of Easter Week—are exciting readings. They are about new beginnings, the resurrection and a new start. We see the risen Christ engaging His apostles and early disciples and we listen to the Acts of the Apostles; we hear about the ones who would begin the proclamation of the resurrection. Easter week does indeed celebrate the very foundations of the Church.
Yet as we look at our gospel this evening, St Luke’s encounter of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, it is clear that those foundations seem rather shaky! The disciples are saddened by the excruciating memory of Good Friday, and downcast about the death of Christ because they “were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). What is worse, they have failed to believe the reports of His resurrection.
They begin to tell this Stranger about “some women from our group” who claimed Christ was alive, but they had been there themselves, and saw no such thing! Jesus upbraids them for being so slow to believe…but then He immediately begins to set in place a rock-solid foundation.
He goes back into the Scriptures, and begins to point out all the places that referred to Him. Later, those disciples will recall how their hearts were burning within them as Jesus spoke to them on the way.
Then comes the great moment of recognition: Jesus takes the bread and breaks it, and suddenly their eyes are opened! It is Him, and He is alive!
These days of Easter week are exciting, indeed. The foundation that Christ builds for these disciples, and this experience of the Risen One in the scriptures and in the Eucharist will be one that supports, nurtures and strengthens the Church for centuries to come.
Every Sunday, even up to our own time, this experience of word and sacrament continues to be the place where our lives take shape and are molded to be more and more like Christ. Tonight, we gather together in this Church to take up anew the St. Joseph’s Council of the Knights of Columbus, asking the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into this council that was begun years ago here in this parish community.
We ask God to guide us—tonight, as well as in the weeks, months, and years to come—as we build on that same foundation of the Scriptures and the Eucharist, that our hearts will burn within us as we hear His word proclaimed and as we are made one with Christ and with each other in the breaking of the bread.
The following newly elected officers of the St. Joseph’s Council Knights of Columbus at Our Lady of Mercy Parish were installed in a ceremony immediately following Holy Mass:
Sean Pauley, Grand Knight
Michael Murray, Deputy Grand Knight
Kevin McDevitt, Chancellor
Joseph Weaver, Financial Secretary
John Carne, Recorder
Michael Gallagher, Treasurer
Gil Bianchi, Advocate
Thomas Mahoney, Lecturer
James Coyle, Warden
Arthur Lisi, Inside Guard
Robert Vespia, Outside Guard
John de Giulio, Trustee
John Morris, Trustee
Richard Ohnmacht, Trustee