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October 17, 2021: The Winding Road

Sing:  The road is long, with many a winding turn
that leads us to who knows where, who knows where


Think of your life as being in a road.  What kind of road are you currently on?  Does it feel straight and narrow, or long and winding as that song talked about?  Maybe you feel like you are on an Express way (like one on 94 starting in Maple Grove) which has no way to get off and it speeds along.  Maybe your life feels like an old bumping dirt path with many holes and divots in it.  Or are you currently on a very scenic route that doesn’t feel so bad?


In the gospel, the setting is the road to Emmaus.  Emmaus is a town that doesn’t exist anymore, but scholars place it west of Jerusalem about 20 miles.  I have walked the road back when I studies in Jerusalem, in 1980.  We walked a portion of the road, as did the disciples in the gospel story.  And let me tell you, the road isn’t much . . . no stores, no homes. . just a deserted winding dirt road.   Maybe that’s how your life feels currently . . . empty, or dirty, or simply seeming to go nowhere 


Today (Sunday marks a big kick-off for a worldwide Synod of Bishops that Pope Francis is calling. The Synod is actually occurring in 2023.  We’ve had Synods before but most of the time no one notices.  This one is different, for Pope Francis wants each Bishop to gather ideas from parishioners about the direction for the Church. This happens between now next April.  This coming Saturday, October 23 there is a big Diocesan workshop for all doing any kind of Ministries.  You are all welcome to attend; it occurs at St. John’s University, details can be found on the Diocesan website.  Bishop Kettler will kick-off our input to him on Saturday. 


I want to point out the closing song today [look at worship aids] The first verse goes like this [I sing verse one: There is a road meant for you to travel, narrow and steep is the shepherd’s way. And as you say, “Yes,” letting me guide you, I will be strength for the journey.]


Pope Francis has set the tone for the Synod by asking all of us to look at three areas: communion, participation and mission. Last Sunday, he reached about the Synod and said, “Jesus shows us that God is not found in neat and orderly places, distant from reality, but walks ever at our side.  He meets us where we are, on the often rocky roads of life.” 


Bishop Kettler chose different readings for this weekend to get us thinking about the journey we are one.  Like the disciples in the first reading hearing the Holy Spirit speak to you in your own unique way, that is, on your own particular journey.  Or in the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, recognizing that the Spirit works in different ways IN each of us.  Then there’s the gospel, with the setting of Jesus’ resurrection and the two disciples walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus . . . and he asks them questions, explains things and then presents himself in the breaking of bread.  That is, the Eucharist.  


And all those become our story, for no matter what road you are currently on, God wants you to know that you are not alone.  God’s message is to guide.  God’s spirit is there to have you develop your gifts and finally for you to know that God is your strength.   God will be there to help you, support you and guide you.


[Sing refrain, verse 3 and all on refrain] 


Refrain: I will be, I will be, I will be strength for the journey I will be, I will be, I will be strength for the journey. 

Verse 3 How many times have you doubted my word? How many times must I call your name? And as you say, “Yes,” letting me love you, I will be strength for the journey.  



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