The Face of a Friend

3rd Sunday of Easter—Year A
By Deacon Dick Kostner

Our world tells us that death is the end of life. Jesus has parabled us into a new direction. Death is but the birth of a new and perfected life. I believe that our readings this Third Sunday of Easter tell us two important lessons to be learned. The first is that we are living at this moment in trying times, and that is anxiety, fear and confusion not only causes us to be disoriented but it also distracts us from seeing the cure for our affliction. The second lesson is that Jesus has, through our baptism, commissioned us to be the body of Christ in this very confused world. We no longer bear the face we were born with, but rather we are no longer recognized by our face but rather we are recognized by our heart and our actions.

We learn through our scripture readings that because of earthly death and the anxiety that follows we all will be confused and disoriented. This anxiety blinds us to the reality of the Easter Proclamation: “The light of Christ!” The disciples who knew Jesus well were so filled with the emotion of death that they failed to recognize their friend as they walked the road to Emmaus. This friend of theirs who could walk on water and still storms died and was buried. The fact that Jesus had taught them that death was not the end and that he would rise, blew right over the top of their heads because of their fear of death.

Isn’t it a “coincidence” that our whole world is experiencing, firsthand, the fear of death and the confusion that developed during this Holy Season? The same confusion that disciples of Jesus felt two thousand years ago is still with us on this Third Sunday of Easter. Like the disciples in our readings we are so filled with anxiety that we fail to recognize Jesus walking with us on that road to Emmaus. We fail to see his face in the nurses and doctors who treat us, and the clerks and people who serve us. We fail to hear his voice and feel his presence in the waive we see from our family and friends we no longer can touch. We fail to hear his wisdom and words proclaimed by His ordained ministers every day through cyberspace.

Jesus has many faces and I believe his disciples were unable to recognize him because Jesus wants to be recognized not by his facial features or color of skin but rather by and through his actions and words. It was not until he preached to his disciples and broke bread with them making them a part of him, that their eyes moved from his face to his heart and they could see their friend as the risen Christ.

We are commissioned to be the body of Christ. It is through our behavior driven by the heart not the brain that the face of Jesus will be recognized as we walk the road to Emmaus with Jesus at our side. May the peace of the risen Lord and the grace he gifts us with, be always with you!

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