006 Healing Experience in Emaus

My dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus. Well, when I came here last year I never realized I would come here a second time. And what I saw in Brazil last year made a very great impact upon me.  And I have been sharing my experiences in Brazil wherever I went in the world. In a special way what I saw and experienced at Canção Nova, more the programs in this place as whereas meeting people and seeing this whole campus, impressed me very much. And it seemed to me to be like a merry miracle. I am happy that this place is now renewed even still in a greater way. And I pray that these four days will be days of great grace and great blessings to each one of you. When I was wondering what to speak to you today, because I don´t want to repeat what I said last year, and I forgot what I said last year. But father Jonas reminded me that today is a day of the Eucharist.  When I asked him at breakfast time what was the theme of this convention, what was the specific theme for today. And he said today is the day of the Eucharist. And being a Thursday, we know that in the Catholic Church every day of the week has a special focus. And Thursday is the day of the blessed sacrament. And also this jubilee year is the year of the Eucharist. And when father Jonas read from the prophecy of Isaiah, then I realized that the verse that he quoted was the verse that was the theme of Saint Luke´s Gospel. Because Saint Luke´s Gospel is a Gospel of a wall of evangelization. Is the gospel of the Eucharist. And I would like to speak today to you about what the Eucharist meant to Saint Luke.

Every Gospel ends with the narrative of the resurrection and of the apparitions of Jesus. And in Saint Luke´s Gospel the last chapter, chapter 24, gives us the narrative of the apparition of Jesus to his apostles. Many of these narratives in all of the four gospels are similar or even the same. But in chapter 24 of Saint Luke we have a story of the apparition which is not in the other three gospels. And chapter 24 of Saint Luke´s Gospel is one of the greatest chapters of the whole bible. And I would wish that every one of you when you leave this hall and go to your rooms, would read that chapter, slowly and devotedly. But to understand that chapter, I must also read the first chapter of Luke´s second book, the acts of the Apostles. The first chapter, because both these books are really one book, the gospel of Saint Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles begins where the gospel of Saint Luke ends. So with this introduction I would like to begin speaking to you about both these two chapters, chapter 24 of Saint Luke´s Gospel and chapter one of the Acts of the Apostles.

In chapter one of the Acts of the Apostles, we read something very beautiful and striking. We read there that Jesus appeared to his apostles for forty days. Now why did Jesus appear to his apostles for forty days? For three years Jesus ministered to the people by preaching and by healing. This was the first period of the ministry of Jesus. And then you have a smaller period of forty days, when Jesus appeared to his apostles after the resurrection. And then you have a still smaller period of nine days, when the apostles came together after the ascension of Jesus waiting for the Holy Spirit. So I like you before your mind these three columns. The three years of preaching and healing, the nine days of the apostles waiting for the Holy Spirit, but what connected the first period with the third period was this intermediary second period of forty days. And these forty days are very, very important. That is why all the gospels and by telling us what happened in these forty days. And the forty days are a very, very important biblical number. Moses fasted for forty days, to prepare himself to receive the law of God. Elijah, the greatest prophet, fasted for forty days. Elias. Jesus began his ministry by fasting for forty days. And Jesus would end his ministry by spending forty days appearing to the apostles. Those first forty days were to prepare Jesus for the people.  But this second forty days was meant to prepare the church for the people of God. Have you understood what I am saying? You like what I am saying?

Now what happened in these forty days? Why did Jesus appear to his apostles for forty days? For three reasons.  First of all, to tell them that he was risen even though they thought he was dead, that he was alive and that he would be with them always. This is the first reason why Jesus appeared to them. Has any religious leader ever told his followers that he was not only alive, but he would be with them always? No one but Jesus. The second reason why Jesus appeared to the apostles was to tell them they would have to continue his work. Jesus had told them first “As I live, you also will live.” The life of Jesus now enters into the church, into you and into me. As Saint Paul says “I live, but really not I, Jesus lives in me.”  But now Jesus will tell the apostles “As the father sent me, so do I send you.” Is not that the mission of Jesus was over and the mission of the church now begins, but rather the mission of Jesus flows into the mission of the church. What beautiful words of Jesus  “As the father sent me, so do I send you.” That is why God told to Isaiah “Whom shall I send?” And Isaiah was anticipating the answer of the church, your answer, my answer, send me. And what did Jesus tell the apostles? He told them they had to continue his work. He told them “You have to go to every place in the world. You have to preach the gospel to every human being. You have to heal every sick person. You have to deliver everyone who is possessed.”  Each gospel gives us his idea of this mission of Jesus. And Saint Luke´s idea of Jesus is this one, Jesus told the apostles “You will be my witnesses. My witnesses until the ends of the world.” Has any religious leader ever tell his followers that you have to go to the whole world and preach your religion to every person and heal all the sick and deliver everyone that is possessed? No one but Jesus. What a tremendous responsibility, for you and for me. And at the same time what an incredible privilege that we can do what Jesus said.

Jesus told the apostles in John´s gospel, chapter 14, verse 12, “If you were to believe in me, you will do what I have been doing. You will do even greater things.” And that is the second reason why Jesus appeared to his apostles to tell them that they, and now you and me, have to take the place of Jesus in the world. Perhaps the only bible people will ever read is the bible they see in us. The only bible people will ever read is the bible they see in you and me. The only Jesus people will ever meet is a Jesus they see in me and you. And the third reason why Jesus appeared to the apostles was to tell them that they will not be able to do this work alone. But they would need a special help. He told them to wait, wait to receive power. From where? Not from the Earth, but from above. And what was that power? Not some force or energy, but a person. The Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus appeared to the apostles. As he told the apostles in last chapter 1, verse 8, “You receive power from on high and then you will be my witnesses even to the ends of the world.” All my life I lived in Bombay, I never realized that one day I would come to Brazil. I have been to all the places in the world except the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle. And this is what Jesus meant when he said “You will be my witnesses to the very ends of the world.” Has any religious leader ever given his followers, promised his followers, such a tremendous power as Jesus did, the power of the Holy Spirit? No one but Jesus. And therefore I can´t understand how people can compare Christianity with any other religion or any other philosophy. It is something different, something unique.

But now I want to speak about the most important thing for this section. All that I have said is still by way of introduction. I told Jesus appeared to the apostles for three reasons, but that is not quit correct. That was another reason why appeared, a reason that was behind his four reasons, because Jesus knew that his apostles would not be able to do his work unless they received healing and deliverance.  And you may tell me “But where does they say that in the bible?” And this is said very clearly in the Gospel of Luke in chapter 24. One day, to disciples of Jesus were coming from Jerusalem to Emaus. What was that day? It was a Sunday, was the third day after the crucifixion of Jesus. They could not travel on the Sabbath, they waited for the next day, Sunday. And this is how the narrative begins. These two disciples were traveling from Jerusalem to Emaus. Why were they leaving Jerusalem and going back to Emaus? The story tells us why. They had seen their leader crucified and dead. They had seen all the apostles run away. They had heard that one of them betrayed Jesus and another one denied Jesus. That was the end of their dreams. And they felt now they had to close one chapter. And they said “Let´s go back home.” And they left their homes before, maybe some months or years before, to follow Jesus, to be his disciple, because what Jesus said made they have a new vision for their country. They never heard anyone speaking in the way Jesus spoke. They never saw anyone healing and casting out demons as Jesus did. It was exciting to be with Jesus. What a great privilege to be the disciple of Jesus. And suddenly, on Good Friday, their dreams were shattered. Their hopes were over. And they must have said to themselves “What a great mistake we made. We left our families to join the family of Jesus and the family of Jesus ids no more. We left our jobs in order to work for Jesus and the work of Jesus is not there anymore. Let´s go back home, back to our families, try to get our jobs back.” And as they were traveling you could see how said they were. And now something happens, a stranger joined them on the way and he began to talk to this two disciples and he asked them “Why are you so sad? Because I never saw people so sad as you are.” And they were surprised and told the stranger “Have you not heard what has happened in Jerusalem in the last two days?” And the stranger said “What things?” and they said to the stranger the two great burdens. And the first burden was the one they loved so much and who they hoped so much had died, was crucified. And the second burden was their hopes on changing the whole world and bringing about the kingdom of God was now over. And they said these words “We had hoped. We had hoped.” The two great burdens of each one of us are the same even today.

There can be no greater burden than the loss of a loved one, my only son, my beloved husband/wife has died. The greatest burden is a person´s burden of a loss of some loved one. They may have died suddenly, he may left the family for no reason, he may have betrayed the trust I put into him, that is everyone´s greatest burden, the loss of someone whom we loved and whom we trusted.  And the second burden is the loss of security in which we trusted. The loss of our homes and now we are refugees; the loss of our job or our business and now we are paupers, poor people; a failure in school or in college. And these are the two burdens these disciples had. And when this happens hope disappears from our lives. Hope. The greatest, ultimate burden is a burden of despair. When I have no more hope. When life is not worth living anymore. And suicide is the only answer. We had hoped, they said. And now what did the stranger do? And you can recognize by now that the stranger was no stranger, was Jesus himself. And Jesus noticed in these two disciples the three greatest emotional burdens of every human being. The first burden is sadness. Sadness because they lost someone and because they lost hope in the future. The apostles were sad. How often we read in the last chapter of the gospels, they say “They were sad.” And even today as I have been down helping people all over the world, I will say the greatest hurt and grief of people is sadness in the heart. Sadness that can be so great that there are not even tears in the eyes. The sadness is only deep in one´s heart. The apostles were sad. 

The second thing that happened to the apostles was that they were filled with doubt. How often do we read that the apostles doubted? When they heard people saying that Jesus was alive, they did not believe. For three years when they saw Jesus healing people, they believed in Jesus. Peter tells Jesus “To whom else will we go? You only have the words of eternal life.” The apostles would tell Jesus in John´s gospel, chapter 6, “We believe that you are the son of God.” And now there was no more faith, only doubt. Men´s second greatest burden when the person cannot and does not trust anyone any longer. He cannot even trust God. Especially if you are betrayed by someone close to you, you lose all trust in every human being. You cannot even trust the church anymore, even the priests, even God. Can you imagine a person who is only having doubt in her heart and no faith? Is like a living corpse. And third burden Jesus saw in the apostles was fear. The apostles were filled with fear. When they saw Jesus being crucified in that terrible way on the cross. When they say or heard about the agony of Jesus, the guards scourging Jesus at the pillar. When they saw Jesus carrying the cross on the way to Calvary. They were terrified, they were afraid the same thing would happen to them. John´s gospel says they were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. How often do we read in the lasts chapters of the gospels “the apostles were afraid, they were afraid.” And eve today we have seen that perhaps the third greatest burden of people is fear. Yesterday we met in São Paulo, a young lady that was afraid even of Jesus. Afraid even of the crucifix.  Afraid even of God. What is a person´s life if that person is just full of fears? Fear to be alone, fears of darkness, fears of the future, fears that person may have cancer or even AIDS. And the apostles were filled with fear. And Jesus said to himself “How can I use these apostles for my work of evangelization if they were sad people, doubting people and fearful people?” Fear. And Jesus knew that first he had to free them, to heal them from sadness, from doubt and fear before sending them to evangelize the world. And that is why the first thing Jesus did for his church was to give them inner healing and deliverance. Have you understood what I am trying to say?

Alright, the most important thing, the last thing, how did Jesus heal them and free them from sadness, from doubt and from fear? Number one, he freed them from doubt by explain to them the bible. Jesus told them “Don´t you know from the law and the prophecy that the messiah had to suffer and to in this way to enter into his glory? And thus enter in his glory?” And then Jesus began to explain to them the whole Old Testament. Jesus gave them a real bible class. He explained to them every prophecy, everything in the Old Testament. This the first thing Jesus does for us even as today. The very first step in our healing and deliverance is listening to the words of God. And as they listened to Jesus speaking to them about the word of God, what happened to them? Something happened not only to their minds, not only they were enlightened, but more important to their hearts, the hearts were being healed, doubt was leaving them. They said to one another “Well now our hearts are burning.” And yesterday when we prayed with someone in São Paulo he said “Everything inside of me is burning.” Which is a biblical sign of the wrong things being burned away. And the good sign of the Holy Spirit´s fire now entering one´s heart. My dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharist of Jesus will also heal us to the proclamation of his words from every doubt in our lives. And as you listen to God during these four days every word of God will bring a deeper and deeper healing and freedom from every doubt you may have in your life. How did Jesus heal them from sadness? We are sad when someone we love is not there anymore. A little child will cry when he cannot see his mother, but once the mother comes back this child is full of joy, he will run to the mother. And how did Jesus free them from that sadness? By revealing himself to them. As they went close to the town of Emaus, Jesus was now making as they were leaving them, and they told Jesus “Why don´t you come to our home? And have supper with us?” And Jesus went into their home and I am sure in their home Jesus must have talked to them even much more. And a sudden joy began to come into their hearts and then at a certain moment they recognized that stranger to be Jesus. All sadness left their hearts and joy was now filled into them. Jesus freed them from their sadness by their presence. Therefore is not only the word of God that heals us but presence of Jesus in the blessed sacrament. Yesterday, we came back from São Paulo after a healing mass very late. Well, not yesterday, it was this morning at 3 o´clock. And then at breakfast time I met father Jonas and then he embraced me and he said “Que alegria.” (What a joy). So he was filled with joy. How much more will we be filled with joy when we recognize Jesus to be with us. Jesus said I will be with you always. As only the presence of Jesus will heal us of every sadness. His presence will heal every wound in the heart. His presence will wipe every tear from our eyes. And the last thing Jesus did was to heal the apostles from fear. And how did Jesus heal them from fear?

By making them aware that his presence was not needed, the presence of the church was now needed. The moment that they recognized Jesus he disappeared from them. And Jesus was telling them “Now, I don´t need to be with you physically. I am present with you in the fellowship of my disciples in the church.” And this is what happened, the moment Jesus left them, they went back to Jerusalem. Once again they said “Now we know what to do. Now we know Jesus is not dead, he is alive. And now we know that the kingdom of God will come into this world.”  I can imagine how they went back to Jerusalem, almost running. They wanted to tell the apostles that Jesus was really alive. And when they went into the upper room, the same upper room where the apostles had load themselves with fear of the Jews. They saw the apostles also filled with joy. And they told the disciples “Yes, Jesus appeared even to us.” And as the fellowship of the apostles every fear disappeared. Why are we afraid? Because we feel we are alone, there is no one with us. But once you have the support of brothers and sisters who love you and are with you, there is no more fear. When a child misses his mother, is afraid. But once he sees his mother back, there is no more fear. And this is how Jesus healed them from fear, by telling them in this way “You have to belong to the fellowship of his body.” And then they shared with one another, and then Jesus appeared to them at the end of the gospel Saint of Luke. Now that the church was complete, those two disciples back again in the church, Jesus could now appear to his completed church. And then they told them that they would have to preach the gospel, what gospel? The remission of sins, the forgiveness of sins. And then Jesus told them that he was leaving them, but that he would send them the Holy Spirit. And the gospel of Saint Luke ends in this way. And they worship Jesus and their hearts were filled with unspeakable joy. My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus is the same today as he was yesterday. And we are the same today as Jews were two thousand years ago. And if in your hearts at this moment, there is a sadness in your life, with nothing that never can take away from you, if there is your mind doubts, doubting everything, even God, if there is in your whole person fears of everything, let us know that Jesus has come to free us from every doubt in our lives. Through the proclamation of his words, through the proclamation of his good news, Jesus has come to take away from our lives every sadness, by giving us the experience of his presence, of his presence specially in the Eucharist, of his presence in the mass. And Jesus has come to take away every fear that we have, by reminding us, that we are not individuals, we are not alone, that we cannot deal with life alone, we need help, we need support of our brothers and sisters. As the Vatican calls to remind us those who believe in Jesus and accept his gospel, and receive the Holy Spirit, now become one family, the family of God, God our father. And we are brothers and sisters. We become one body, where Jesus is our head and we are his members, some his hands, some his feet. We are all members of one body and we become the temple of the Holy Spirit, with Jesus the corner stone, the principal stone of that temple. And each one of us as the living stone of that one big temple. And in this way, again to use the words of the Vatican Council, we will then became a sacrament, a sign to the whole world. And in the words of Jesus himself, we will become witnesses until the ends of the world. Amen.

(the end)

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