She has a long journey ahead of her, a long way to go, but Sophia got a good start today. She joined Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple -- and us -- on the road to Emmaus. We're all on that journey, you know. It's a baptismal journey; and, at the font, it begins the same way for all of us as, like Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple on that first day of the week and Sophia on this one, the story of a crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ became our story, whether we recognize it or not. That's what happens at baptism, you know, Jesus' story, the story of crucifixion, death and resurrection becomes our story and the way to Emmaus becomes our way too. Some of us, especially Sophia, have a long way to travel on the Emmaus way. Others of us have traveled pretty far down that road. As we walk along that way many of us, like Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple, are often confused, saddened and discouraged by all "the things that have taken place in these days." There is one constant though: Christ goes with us -- with all of us, including Sophia -- whether we recognize him or not. That's another thing about baptism: Because it's based on God's promise and not on our recognition, assent or action, it binds us to Christ; binds Christ to us and us to each other continually, constantly,
consistently whether we recognize it or not.
Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple didn't recognize any of this, at least not immediately. Sophia probably doesn't either. It makes no matter though; because Christ recognizes us; Christ recognizes her; Christ knows us, knows Sophia, by name and Christ promises to stay with us every step of the way. And, as he did with Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple, Christ at joins our conversation at exactly the right time.
Ever since I was a child, I've been amused by the conversation between Cleopas, that other, unnamed disciple and the as-yet unrecognized Christ. I find Jesus' question: "What things?" particularly funny -- as if he wasn't there for it all; as if he hadn't personally and physically experienced all these things in his own body in the first place; as if they had troubles that he could never know; as if their pain wasn't also his experience. That's yet another thing about being baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus: There's nothing we can or ever will experience that has not also been experienced by God in Christ.
And then there's the roadside Bible study stuff. Karytza, Dan, Josefina, Karina, Roberto and Christopher and all of us just promised, you remember, to engage in Bible study with Sophia "to teach her the Our Father, the Creed and the commandments" and "to place in her hands the Holy Scriptures." Knowing all of you, I have a feeling that Sophia is going to know the Holy Scriptures really well. But knowing the Scriptures doesn't yet mean that we recognize Christ. Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple had the greatest Bible teacher in history, the crucified and risen Savior Jesus Christy himself, on the way to Emmaus and, while they did get quite excited while Jesus taught them -- "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" -- they still didn't recognize him. Knowing the Bible is not the same as recognizing Christ; certainly not then; certainly not now.
They needed something more on their road to Emmaus and we -- Sophia and you and I -- we need something more as we walk that baptismal road too. We need Jesus Christ himself.
That's yet another thing about baptism: The
crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ always shows up in the exact same way that same Lord Jesus Christ showed to Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple on the eve of that first Easter day; at table with them -- at table with us -- at table even with little Sophia -- taking bread, blessing bread, breaking bread and giving bread to them, to us, to her. And that's yet another thing about baptism; through it we are welcomed directly to the table where, as God promised, Jesus Christ always shows up.
Notice what happens when all these things, all these things come together for Cleopas, that other, unnamed disciple; and for Sophia, you and me: Immediately, "That same hour" they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together to share their joy with all the others who know -- and are known by -- the God who makes and keeps promises in and through Jesus Christ. And that's yet another thing about baptism: Our immediate companionship with "Mary Magdalene and Peter and all the witnesses of the resurrection" including Cleopas and that other, unnamed disciple who from the beginning to the fulfillment of time are our sisters and
brothers in the communion of saints "on earth as in heaven."
Those of us who've been to Jerusalem, to Palestine and to Israel know there's no evidence that a village named Emmaus ever existed. It makes no matter, because the story of Emmaus is always true. It's a baptismal story and therefore it is not just Cleopas' and that other, unnamed disciple's story, it is also the story of Sophia, her parents, godparents, family and all of us. It begins at the font, where the story of Jesus' crucifixion and burial becomes our story. It continues as we live our lives, share our joys, console one another in our sorrows and keep on keeping on in our journey through life. It is refreshed and renewed at we meet Christ at Christ's own table and experience in nothing more than bread and wine the Lord of all. It finds its fulfillment as we gather with all the saints in the heavenly Jerusalem where neither death nor life nor things present nor things to come can separate us from Christ or from one another. It is Cleopas' and that other, unnamed disciples' story; it is your story and my sorry and, beginning today, it is Sophia's story too. Emmaus keeps on happening to all of us all the time. Some of us have spent a long time making
that journey; others, like Sophia, have a long way to go. Yet one thing is constant -- "on the way, at the table and to the end" -- Christ remains with us. Christ never leaves us. Christ holds us together whether we recognize him or not.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Welcome to Emmaus, Sophia. Now, open your eyes!