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Pilgrimage Mass: San Lorenzo, Florence
Friday, March 2, 2018

“We are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away.…”

That may be a good note to begin this pilgrimage on.  Corragio is how the natives say it.  And it takes a certain amount of courage to make a pilgrimage, and maybe even a lot of courage to make a pilgrimage with 250+ people!

St. Paul goes on to say that because we are courageous, “we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.”  Well, let’s hope none of us goes that far…!

But there is a sense in which our pilgrimage is “going home to the Lord” because the Lord awaits us at each of our stops along this pilgrimage.  He awaits us and has something to tell us, to reveal to us.

But to hear him, we’re going to have to listen.  Amid all the scurrying about - the getting on and off buses, the taking in of new and amazing sights, the gawking, gazing, and gaping – we are going to have to find moments to quiet down and listen.  And if we do, and when we do, there’s just no telling what we are going to experience, to hear, but this much is certain: we will meet God.  We will.
In the beautiful gospel reading from Luke, those two pilgrims on the road to Emmaus met God in a most unexpected way.  They weren’t open to it at first: they were so fixed on themselves, their sadness, their sorrows, their grief. that their eyes were kept from recognizing him, even though he was their friend, their hope.  Their words, “We had hoped,” are among the saddest in all the scriptures.
But they walked along with this stranger and as they did, they opened their ears to him as he opened up the scriptures for them.  (Don’t we all wish we were there to hear that scripture lesson, that homily of homilies?!).  They opened their ears and their minds and their hearts, and they learned things they had never imagined, so when they sat down at table with him, they were ready to have their eyes opened as well.  And when their eyes were opened, they saw him for who he was: their friend, the one they had had such high hopes about, the one they were sure they had lost for good, the one whom death could not possibly hold in its grip.
Friends, in these coming days, Christ will be traveling with us on this pilgrimage.  He will.  And we will meet him if we keep our eyes, our ears, our minds, our hearts open to him.  If we do, we will meet him in one another; we will meet him in his Word; and we will meet him in the Breaking of the Bread!
May it be so!

Father Michael G. Ryan





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