Weekly Homilies

There is Glory in Your Story (Luke 24:35-48)

April 18, 2021 Fr. Mark Suslenko Season 4 Episode 14
Transcript Chapter Markers

Hi everyone, and welcome to Weekly Homilies with Father Mark Suslenko, Pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We are part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. I'm Carol Vassar, parish director of communications, and you're listening to Season 4, Episode 15 for the Third Sunday of Easter:  April 18, 2021.  Our Gospel reading is from Luke, Chapter 24, verses 35-48.

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 

And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

The Gospel of the Lord

“The Glory in Your Story,” by Father Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish, Glastonbury, Connecticut

I happened to receive a card this past week that caught my attention, especially as we are celebrating this beautiful season of resurrection, the glory of Christ rising from the dead. The front of the card said very simply, “there is glory in your story.” There is glory in your story. Now, while at first glance, that may seem like a rather trite statement, in light of the feast we are celebrating, more reflection brings it greater power.

There is glory in your story. 

Now it stands to be said that each one of us gathered here today all have a story to tell about who we are, but what has contributed to this person we find ourselves to be today. What has led us to this place? Those stories are unique and different for each one of us. No two human beings share the same story of life.

And our stories are filled with all kinds of things, experiences that we've had, good and bad, pleasant and negative, joyful, and hurtful, successes, failures, things that have been done to us, things we have encountered, the way we've reacted to life as it's unfolded for us. How we’ve stood up to challenges that we have encountered, and how we've negotiated all of the challenges and tides that our lives have wrought.

And this person we find ourselves to be today is a by-product of all of those things. 

But as we gather here today, the question can be asked.that while we believe in the resurrection of Christ as something that happened at some point in time in history and something we will encounter at some point in the future when we leave this world and go to the next. Even more importantly than those two realities is this one: Do you see the power of the glory of the resurrection in your story of life in what has brought you here today? 

So if you were to begin to talk about your story, would you see woven in all of that the power and joy of the resurrection? 

There is glory in your story. 

See, the difficulty is, for most of us, we become very limited in our vision of our story. We tend to decompartmentalize things and focus on one event or thing over the other. So it may be a loss that we encountered. And so in our story of life as we're trying to understand ourselves and come to reveal ourselves to others, that loss becomes something that catches our attention and something over which we. have a difficulty moving. For other people as they look at the story of their life, whatever they had, maybe 10 or 15 years ago that they no longer have, has caused them to see the story of their life as somehow coming to an end; that there really is nothing more to have no further joys to encounter, nothing else to be or become.  For others, our fears can grip us; can weigh us down, can keep us from seeing the greater beauty of who we are and the beauty of who God is. 

And so we come to our stories often with this incompleteness. We have a difficulty putting the pieces together. This is especially true when we bring our eyes of faith to our stories, because we look at our fidelity and how faithful we are to God, and then we wonder in our story, when we're asked to endure a suffering or a challenge where that faith in God is, and why God is causing us to be in this difficult and challenging place .In that incompleteness, we bring to others as well as you look out at those, we meet those, we know personally, and those that are at a distance, we look at behaviors, actions, words, gestures, individuals. And we tend to think that we know the full story of their life; that we somehow know why they're doing what they're doing and what they're doing at for. That we somehow have this preconceived idea of who they are as a person, and that tendency to prejudge people's behaviors, their actions, who they are based on how they look, is part of that incompleteness we bring to those around us. And that tendency to prejudge is really the seed bed for even greater and deeper prejudice. 

And so as we consider our lives and as we think about our stories, it really requires a deep reverence for one another, and respect. A willingness to open ourselves to the stories of others, and a place to find the safety to talk about our stories with someone else. 

In this interchange between folks, it’s very simple, there is great power. And we all know of individuals in our life that have filled that role for us, who have provided that safe haven, where we could be vulnerable and weak, incomplete and broken, and talk about ourselves, honestly, without being judged, without having to be a certain way or do a certain thing. And when that happens, there's great beauty in relationship isn't there, and the joy that is discovered in the interchange. 

Well, the disciples were sharing a story too, as they were journeying on that road many years ago. And it was a story about what had happened just a few days before; a story of disappointment, of crucifixion, of suffering. It was a story of the teachings that their friend had conveyed to them about the kingdom of God, and who he was and what he had come to do. And they had witnessed all of these things, but as they talked about their stories, they, like us, were looking at those things incompletely. They weren't seeing the full picture. They weren't getting the point of what they had endured. 

And then Jesus comes along and he says, “Why are you doing what you're doing? Why are you thinking the way you're thinking? Have you still not understood? Don't you still see that I'm here. I have done what I said I was going to do.”

And then those very simple moments of encounter and exchange of human beings relating to one another and the divine one coming, He says to them, “Peace, be with you.”

And it changes up their whole perspective, and it ignites a fire that then brings them to this incredulous joy. And they have this “aha” moment when suddenly everything makes sense ,and all as well. You see, as people of faith, we have the brokenness of our human lives.We often don't see the future and how things are going to pan out because it hasn't really been revealed yet, and doing that with joy requires trust. And we have to trust that this story of ours is incomplete because it needs the Jesus story. It needs the God story to put the correctives in, to put the focus in, that is able to say to us, this suffering that you're experiencing today is not the end result of who you are. That is a greater hope to which you are called; a greater purpose to your being. To be able to trust ,that even though I don't often understand everything, even though I don't often see the full picture of things, God is still a part of this whole journey of my life and the person I know to be me, and all as well.

Getting to that place ignites within us that same joy, because once we bring the Jesus story to our story, and once we see in the Crucified One also the Resurrected One, then we can gain a confidence, a trust, and a deep faith that there is nothing in this world that we can encounter, no matter how challenging or difficult, no matter how dark and veiled that can intercept or interrupt this journey that we are on and rob us of this joy that we feel because God is with us. And when we stumbled upon that beauty, we discovered something quite precious. 

Saint Teresa of Calcutta worked in some very dire situations, but joy was always very close to her heart, and something that she treasured and expressed. And she said that when a person really discovers deep and authentic joy, it can't be kept to themselves. It has to be shared. It has to be given. And it's given through a person's eyes. On their lips and what they say. It gets expressed on their face, and in the very essence of their being.  And that joy then becomes contagious, and the person becomes someone with whom another, maybe more secure sharing their story and someone whom another may more readily trust.

The beauty of this is once we realize that God is an incredible part of our journey and a part of our life, and we hold fast to that faith, then when we encounter the story of another and they come into our space, we can truly be a vehicle of peace ,so that when Jesus meets those disciples on that road, and says “Peace” to them, we, as we meet others on our road, can also utter those same words and communicate that same profound blessing of peace. 

Imagine if we all did this in our own humble little ways ;that we were able to create this place where we truly were people of joy, touching one life after another by doing nothing other than being who we are and understanding that God is an intimate part of this story I call my life.

Father Mark Suslenko  is the pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Learn more about our parish community www.isidoreandmaria.org. And follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our music comes free of charge from Blue Dot Sessions in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’m Carol Vassar. Thanks for joining us. 

Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
Homily: There is Glory in Your Story