HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: “THEN THE DISCIPLES RECOUNTED WHAT HAD TAKEN PLACE ON THE WAY AND HOW JESUS WAS MADE KNOWN TO THEM IN THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD.” (Luke 24:25)
BY: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC
Third Sunday of Easter; Luke 24:35-48
The oldie on the car radio (“The House at Pooh Corner,” by Kenny Loggins) returned me in a flash to 7th grade English class. The sweetness of those innocent, youthful days returned—as did the bitter pain of her betrayal.
My 7th grade English teacher, Miss Charles, was a brand new college graduate. Young, beautiful and captivating, my improving grades in her class reflected my growing infatuation. Each Friday afternoon, her class the last of the day, she read to us, enchanting us with tales from A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”. Listening to her sweet voice, the innocent world of Pooh became near as my breath. And as innocence is wont to end abruptly, mine did too.
On the last class day of the year, before reading to us the concluding chapter of Pooh, Miss Charles announced that she was to be married during the summer and would return in September as Mrs. Pratt. Stunned silence followed the announcement (I knew I was not alone in my heart’s confusion), and then, as if she had no idea that she’d mortally wounded me, she read to us as she’d done every Friday. All that summer I thought about her and Pooh, and, as September approached, my anxiety rose. Would Miss Charles (now, sadly, Mrs. Pratt) be different? Would she remember me?
On the very first day of 8th grade, I made it my singular objective to discover the answers to these questions. I saw her approaching from a distance, jostling down a crowded hallway at the change of class interval. I elbowed my way through milling bodies to stand before her. “Hi, Mrs. Pratt.” (The new moniker seemed caught in my throat.) She looked at me in a distracted sort of way, not responding at all, such that I realized that I was not as special to her as she was to me. With no word of acknowledgment, she continued on her way. My questions had been answered.
Springtime and the budding of new life— reminders of the heartthrobs of growing love, the heartaches of diminishing love and the heartburn of what only seemed like love. Springtime—East er time—is for such stories that remind us that all human love, no matter its seeming quality and endurance, only hints at the Divine Love that never disappoints, never forgets a name, never passes us by.
In today's gospel passage, we hear that, "The disciples recounted what had taken place on the way and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of the bread." (Luke 24:25) Like the pining springtime heart, the disciples were deep in grief, heart sick, as they trudged that road to Emmaus, mourning the apparent death of the man who had brought soaring flight to their hopes and dreams. Mid-journey, an engaging stranger having joined them, the disciples poured out their deep anguish. Then, in a twinkling, with a prayer as he broke the bread, he was known by them. He, for whom their hearts longed, had been present, though they had not recognized him.
Even now I easily return to 7th grade with Miss Charles, conjuring the ancient pain of losing her to an older man. Even now, whenever I hear Kenny Loggins sing about Winnie the Pooh, my heart begins to liquefy. Now, though, I’m not hurt, angry and resentful; rather, I’m thankful that God brought me to her class where she mirrored, not dimly but brilliantly, what I believe my heart will feel forever in the presence of heaven’s eternal springtime.