Ampleforth Abbey

22 September 2017

Echoes of the Word 24th April 2016


The Road to Emmaus  Luke 24:13-35

Cleopas and his friend unsurprisingly think they have made a bad mistake, and should now cut their losses.

Perhaps we – familiar with the sea of faith’s “melancholy long-withdrawing roar” – can identify with their state of mind. And yet, the answer they needed did not come from clever insights, or a dramatic vision - but from an apparently chance encounter. The stranger at their side encourages them to express their doubts and fears. He allows them honestly to express all that burdens their hearts. And in that honest speaking comes – though they do not yet grasp it – the opening to new hope.

As often with us also, they do not see the ‘new thing’ God has done – is doing among them. Gently the stranger seeks to fan some flicker of recognition – some rekindling of cold ash. “What things?” – without realising it – starts their own reflection on these recent days.

He rebukes their dull understanding; opens the Word to them - and at the breaking of bread their eyes are opened. They see the world and the meaning of life anew, and find energy and joy to communicate this to others. And the same gift is offered to us, in Word, Sacrament, and in Christ present in others. 

Fr Philip Rozario OSB


Reflection on the Easter Season

There is a wonderful moment in John’s gospel when many of Jesus’ disciples left him after hearing him talking about the Eucharist. Jesus turns to the twelve and asks them, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answers him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” We sense the same thing, that when we allow him to be at work in our lives things begin to change, we begin to change, that he can bring peace, wholeness and even joy into the most unlikely of situations. “We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him.” (Rom 8:28). By his power it all belongs. Our mission, to listen, to follow, to let his will be done in us, to live each day opening ourselves to the light of Christ, letting that light shine on us, on the stained glass windows that are our imperfect lives, revealing their beauty, so that that beauty may shine through us and bring light to others.

For the full homily please see below.

Fr Kevin Hayden OSB

"You have made known the way of life to me, you will fill me with gladness through your presence.”

It is said of Magi that, after encountering the infant Christ at Bethlehem, “they went home by a different way.” The most obvious reason for this is that they were warned in a dream to do so in order to avoid Herod, but perhaps there is also a deeper sense – that for them in that encounter with the infant saviour their world had changed forever, that even if they had followed the same route, the ground beneath their feet, the air around them, the sky overhead, everything was now different.

Like those people spoken of in the poem:

"And in the town they walk their own way,

As though a reverence for what lies beneath their feet

Is in their shoes, and in their eyes a peace

No man may buy and few have ever found."

And so it is for us who have encountered Christ, who sense and know from experience what he can do in our lives when we give ourselves to him. We walk a different way too – as his followers, letting ourselves be guided and led by him to life.

There is a wonderful moment in John’s gospel when many of Jesus’ disciples left him after hearing him talking about the eucharist. Jesus turns to the twelve and asks them, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answers him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

We sense the same thing, that when we allow him to be at work in our lives things begin to change, we begin to change, that he can bring peace, wholeness and even joy into the most unlikely of situations. “We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him.” (Rom 8:28). By his power it all belongs.

Our mission, to listen, to follow, to let his will be done in us, to live each day opening ourselves to the light of Christ, letting that light shine on us, on the stained glass windows that are our imperfect lives, revealing their beauty, so that that beauty may shine through us and bring light to others.

We walk a different way because we know our true life lies waiting for us, waiting for us in Christ, waiting for us to discover it more and more deeply each day.

"Come follow me.”

Remembering the Amish of Alma Michigan

And I have seen them coming home on summer nights

Or bent above the washbowl in the kitchen,

Haloed in the window by the low sun's leaving;

Soft voices in the fields of gentle men with horses.

And in the town they walk their own way,

As though a reverence for what lies beneath their feet

Is in their shoes, and in their eyes a peace

No man may buy and few have ever found.

And sometimes when I meet them I feel like him who went

With all his father's wealth and lived in laughter far away

And woke one day to find he'd nothing left.

I feel like turning just like him for home –

That I may also start again.

(Kenneth Steven)