I dagens preken, med en tekst som tar utgangspunkt i møtet med Jesus i Emmaus (les tekstene her), vil jeg knytte noen tanker til hvordan vi gjenkjenner Jesus når brødet brytes i messen. Presten står foran alteret i Kristi sted, brød og vib forvandles til Kristi legeme og blod, og vi gjenkjenner ham og møter ham nesten som disiplene gjorde det i Emmaus.
Jeg vil også ta med noen tanker jeg fant om dagens tekster hos http://www.sacerdos.org, om vanskelighetene vi har for å innrømme synd (og syndens konsekvenser), problemene vi har med å forstå lidelse i våre liv, og konsekvensene av at Jesus Kristus er virkelig (ikke et spøkelse), og virkelig er til stede i vårt daglige liv. Les bl.a. følgende:
There are certain things we have difficulty accepting in the scriptures. Three of the principal ones stand out in today´s liturgy: The first two are the ineluctable reality of sin, and of suffering, in the pages of the New Testament and in the everyday experience of Christians. The third is the non-ghost status of the risen Christ: he too is absolutely real, and absolutely present to our everyday experience. In all of this we are not that different from the disciples. They also had plenty of difficulty, at least with the latter two.
It is quite understandable that we would all prefer to be without sin and suffering. In fact, it is central to God´s plan that we should reach that very desirable goal. …. The word of God is very clear that it really does exist, and in everyone´s life; and that in fact that is why Jesus died, and rose from the dead (God´s solution to the problem – the one that works). “He is an offering for our sins, and… those of the whole world”. The whole of Scripture, and in particular the death of Christ, makes no sense if there is no such thing as sin.
Our problem with suffering is a little different. We don´t deny it exists. What we deny is that there is any redeeming value to it. Suffering for us is simply an evil, something to be got rid of, and fast. But, turning again to Christ´s bible class for his followers, we find him insisting to the disciples who were scandalized by the suffering of the Messiah, that this was from all eternity an essential part of God´s plan (First Reading and Gospel). This was a major change of mentality the first Christians had to undergo (they expected an out-an-out triumphant Messiah), and it remains the same for us. We all have to reach the conviction that “by way of the cross we reach the light” (Per crucem ad lucem).
It is a healthy Christian practice to acknowledge before the Lord one´s everyday sins (petty resentments, impatiences, taking no time for prayer, sharp words, gossip, neglect of our duties…), perhaps at the end of the day. Whoever does this and ends with an act of contrition (with the proviso that mortal sin requires sacramental confession), is completely purified of sin, while to the one who airily dismisses any involvement with sin Jesus says: “your sin remains” (John 9:41). It is the Christian who isn´t afraid to say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13) who really experiences, every day, that he or she has buried sin and risen with Christ to new life.
The Christian vision of suffering can transform what threatens to ruin your day, what up to now has made you angry, miserable, or disappointed, into maybe your greatest achievement of the day. Suffering in one form or another is a fact of every human life. You can curse it, get mad about it, bear it stoically, complain or just be miserable. However, surely it is far better, from every point of view –even a selfish one!- to unite them to the sufferings of Christ, as St Paul did: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ´s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). Instead of frustration, you helped save the world. It may sound simplistic, but it´s true.
As for the real, abiding presence of Jesus with us after the resurrection – well, you would think we would be only too happy to accept that. We´re actually happy enough with a “risen Jesus somewhere off there in heaven, as long as he stays there. But of course, a real Jesus, who lives today among us, his followers, poses all kinds of problems a ghost wouldn´t bother us with. For starters, if he somehow, with inexplicable bad taste, is present in that neighbor or coworker or in-law I just can´t stand, I can´t really treat them like lepers any more, can I?