WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN
Cardinal Thomas Collins reads from a red Bible 'because a Bible must be read.'
Our worries and our cares too often distract us from recognizing the Lord walking beside us, Cardinal Thomas Collins said April 14.
"We walk further and further into the darkness on a road that seems to go nowhere," Collins said in a reflection on Jesus' meeting with two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24.13-35).
The Lord didn't force his presence on the two disciples on the road and he doesn't force his presence on us, the cardinal said. "He always comes so gently. He doesn't shake us up. He invites; he proposes; he doesn't impose."
It was Collins' first lectio divina (sacred reading) session in St. Joseph's Basilica, the church where he instituted the practice he now continues as archbishop of Toronto, since he left Edmonton more than five years ago.
The event, which included a celebration of Evening Prayer, drew a congregation of several hundred people.
When Jesus encountered the two disciples, they stood still, looking sad. They had been walking and talking, but it wasn't getting them anywhere. "They were going deeper into the darkness as the light began to fade. Maybe they were going to Emmaus, but they were lost in every other way."
Similarly, we waste days and years of our lives "spinning around and being sad because we are not aware of the Lord who walks beside us in our journey."
Like the two disciples, we know our problems, but we don't recognize the Lord, Collins said.
The two disciples told Jesus of the resurrection, but they were still unable to recognize him.
"They can be walking along with the risen Lord but they are so absorbed in their own walking and talking that they don't notice him. They are aware of the resurrection, but they haven't understood it. They were too caught up in themselves."
That's a sad state of affairs, Collins noted. "When you're all wrapped up in yourself, you make a pretty small package."
Just as we miss the presence of the Lord, we also miss the presence of other people, even those mere inches away. "If we cannot be attentive to another person so close to us, it's an indication of why we cannot be close to the Lord himself."
The disciples, however, did invite Jesus to have supper with them in Emmaus. "There they recognized him in the breaking of the bread."
Excited, the disciples ran back to Jerusalem to tell Jesus' other followers that they had encountered him. "Now, the night is even darker and they're racing back to Jerusalem. They're not worried anymore. They're launching forth because they've seen the risen Lord."
We need a similar joy in our lives, joy that comes from recognizing the Lord. "Jesus breaks open our inward turning and allows us to see him and to see one another."
Once we recognize the Lord and experience that joy, we are called to start moving - to go out and bear fruit.