Disappointment means an appointment was dissed. We were looking forward to an experience of something good, beneficial or helpful and it did not happen. The good experience was replaced by something less desirable. The appointment was dissed.
In the Sunday Gospel, there are two very disappointed disciples (Luke 24:13-35). They thought Jesus would be their key to political liberation from the Romans. Profoundly inspired by his teaching, they had left everything to go with him to Jerusalem. Now he was dead. In their disappointment, they saw no point in staying around with the other disciples, so they headed home to Emmaus to pursue their old way of life.
When Jesus joined them on the road, they were so lost in their disappointment they did not even recognize him. Then something amazing happened at dinner. When Jesus blessed and broke the bread, they were suddenly pulled out of their disappointment and their eyes were opened to recognizing him. In the Breaking of the Bread, they realized Jesus had been with them all along. With fresh confidence, they moved from disappointment to a new commitment to follow Jesus and return with him to Jerusalem.
Certainly, the many painful consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have left us beyond disappointed. Many are disheartened and even devastated. At other times in our lives we have made engagements with people, planned activities and participated in groups that we thought would be great and things did not work out. We were dissed. Like the disciples on the road, we have been lost in disappointment, have wanted to shut down and have not quite known how to look forward to the future.
As Catholics, our precious teaching is that when we break the Bread of the Eucharist, we have with us the Real Presence of Jesus. Recognizing his presence, Jesus can pull us out of our disappointments and assist us in making new appointments with that which is good, helpful and nourishing. Even though we cannot gather at church to participate at Mass, more than ever, we need to keep our appointment with celebrating the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. For those of us who can, let’s put aside time to watch the livestreamed Masses. If we cannot do that, plan at least 30 minutes every Sunday to read the readings from the Sunday Mass, read other passages from the Bible, listen to sacred music, talk with those in our households about what Jesus means to us and pray for each other. Until we can go to Mass again, our good and creative efforts to make Jesus present in our homes will not leave us disappointed.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector