Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Your Emmaus Valley
“Father, is it possible that God stops loving us?” Roger asked Father Ignatius.
The priest stopped what he was doing and asked, “What brought this on? It’s rather a strange question to ask.”
“Well Father,” continued Roger, “We’re told that God loves all of us. But is it possible that sometimes He turns His attention to someone else, and we’re not in His good books, or in His priorities anymore?”
“Feeling neglected are we … is that the problem?”
“No Father … it’s that … I don’t know … I seem to be down in the valley at this moment in time. Sometimes I’m right up there and I feel great and all is well … and then at times I feel really down and things aren’t going so well …”
“Aha … I see …” exclaimed the priest, “remember, that in order to be up there, as you put it, we must start from a low point.
“There are times when our Faith is really strong and we feel at one with God … and then at times, we begin to wobble and wonder and doubt …
“It’s usually when things aren’t going so well in our lives. Is that what is happening to you?”
Roger hesitated. “Perhaps … yes, I feel a bit fearful about life in general … will I still have my job this time next year, with the financial situation being what it is? How will I cope at my age? Would I get another job … you know the sort of worries we all have …”
Father Ignatius remained silent for a while, allowing Roger to think about what he had just said. Then he asked:
“I was reading Luke Chapter 24 Verse 13 onwards this morning. Do you know what it is about?”
Roger shook his head.
“It’s an unfair question I suppose … to expect you to know chapter and verse by heart … not even a priest can do that!” exclaimed Father Ignatius.
“Just after Christ’s Resurrection, two of His followers were going to Emmaus,” said Father Ignatius.
“They were totally distraught about Jesus’ death, and even though they had heard news that His tomb is empty and that Christ is alive, they were still down-hearted and confused.
“Jesus appeared to them on the way. They did not recognize Him. They spoke with Him and told Him their news. They said that their Lord and leader had been crucified, and there were rumors going around that He was raised from the dead and He was alive again.
“Jesus did not tell them who He was but explained to them the prophets’ predictions about Him. He walked with them all the way to Emmaus, but still they did not recognize Him. It wasn’t until He broke and blessed the bread that they recognized Him.”
The priest paused again for a while; and then he went on.
“Why? I ask myself.
“Why did they not recognize Him when they first saw Him, or when He took the time to explain to them the writings of the prophets?
“Could it be that their minds were more pre-occupied with their own problems and their dilemma rather than listening to Him?
“You can just imagine how their mind worked and how concerned they were about their predicament.
“Their leader is dead. What are they to do now? Is it all over? Every thing He said and taught comes to nothing? And what of the future? What are His followers to do now?
“Can you see how their mind was working Roger?”
“Yes … I suppose they were frightened about their future,” said Roger.
“Just like you …” said Father Ignatius with a gentle smile.
“We are all just the same as those two disciples at times …
“Sudden events may affect our lives and turn it upside down. Events perhaps of our own making sometimes … or events that we did not contribute to, but they affect us all the same.
“And we panic. We fear the future, we fear matters getting out of our control and we turn our attention to our problems and our dilemma. Just like those two on the way to Emmaus.
“And from being on a high up there with our Lord, we’re suddenly plunged into the valley you find yourself in right now.
“Yet, all the time we are panicking Jesus is there, walking right beside us. Quite literally! He is waiting for us to recognize Him, to trust Him, and hold His hand in the full knowledge that He will see us through our darkest hour.
“It is our doubts, our fears and our worries which prevent us from seeing Him.”