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Third Sunday of Easter
April 23, 2023

Watch this homily! (Begins at 40:00)

     The beautiful gospel story of the Road to Emmaus is a favorite of mine and perhaps of yours. I love its pensive quality - the calm, reflective way in which Luke tells us the journey of those two downhearted disciples who walked with Jesus along the road that Easter evening not knowing it was Jesus.

     Luke tells us that Emmaus is a village seven miles from Jerusalem but I find it interesting that, even though it appears on nearly every pilgrim map of the Holy Land – and we paid a visit there on our recent pilgrimage – still, many scholars are not convinced that the real Emmaus has ever been found. For that reason, we can think of Emmaus as representing every place - not just one place - and of the road to Emmaus as every road we travel. Isn’t it wonderful to think that no matter what road it is we travel in life, Jesus is our companion? Even if we don’t always recognize him, he’s no less a companion for that.

     And along the road come dark and difficult days as we, much like those two disciples of old, find ourselves short on hope and maybe even lost in sadness because Jesus seems to be absent. But the Emmaus story tells us that if we hold on during the dark times and invite him to stay with us, he will. And not only will he stay with us, he will find a way to open our eyes and make himself known to us in the Breaking of the Bread.

     My friends, this opening up of minds and hearts takes place here week after week when we gather in this holy place where Jesus makes himself known to us in the scriptures proclaimed, in the Bread that is broken, the cup that is shared, and in one another. How blessed we are to have a wonderful parish like this. How blessed we are not to be alone on the road of life, the road to Emmaus. 

     But this parish is not an island. Far from it. It is part of the Archdiocese of Seattle, a large network of parishes, communities, ministries, and services, each of them, in one way or another, helping people to meet Christ along the road of life and to come to know him and love him. This morning we are asked to think about that larger Church and how we can support it through the Annual Catholic Appeal.

     Did I get your attention, cause a little whiplash, maybe? Not my intention! The Annual Catholic Appeal really is about the journey of faith and about helping people meet Christ along that journey. Let me remind you of a few of the ways you help people meet Christ by your generous gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal.

     Your Annual Appeal contribution supports the education of our seminarians, the ongoing formation of lay leaders and lay catechists, our extensive network of Catholic grade and high schools, our CYO Camps and athletic programs for kids. It also supports the pastoral and strategic planning efforts of the archdiocese as well as the great work of Catholic Community Services: housing for the elderly, the poor, the disabled, veterans, migrant workers and their families; shelters for homeless people; pregnancy support and adoption services.

     These are things you know well. You know, too, that each year the Archdiocese sets an Annual Appeal goal for the entire Archdiocese and one for each parish. The overall goal this year for the Archdiocese is $11 million. Our parish’s share of that - our goal - is $383,376, a huge sum of money, for sure, and the only way we can possibly meet that goal is if each one of us steps forward and gives generously – maybe even more generously than in the past. This is what you’ve always done and I have confidence that you will do it again this year. And let me remind you that everything you give over and above our goal will come directly back to us as a rebate. Let me say a word about the rebate and how we plan to use it this year.
I have this dream of re-envisioning the Terry and Marion entrance over there. That entrance, as you know, has become the Cathedral’s main entrance. Hundreds and hundreds of people flow in and out of it each weekend and, while it works, it’s not as beautiful or as welcoming as it could be. And it should be both!

      With some imagination - and some dollars - I’m convinced we can create an entrance that is worthy of this great Cathedral, an entrance that says ‘welcome’ to everyone who comes in. I’m envisioning filling the vestibule and hallway with light and making some much-needed upgrades to the restrooms and hallway. What we have right now, you have to admit, is pretty utilitarian. Eventually, I dream of making changes to the exterior as well, but for that you’ll have to stay tuned!

      At this point, what I have is a dream, not a price tag, but my plan is to use the rebate from this year’s Annual Appeal as a down-payment on this capital project. Our goal for the rebate is $180,000. More fund-raising will be needed as we move ahead, but the rebate will jump start the project.
My friends, we are still recovering from the pandemic. There are still many empty pews, many ministries in need of people to help. My hope is that this project will be one more step toward recovery from the pandemic, one more way we can invite people in to encounter Christ here. We’ve made good strides in that direction: I think of our two livestream Masses each Sunday to a congregation that now stretches across the country and even the world. I think, too, of our Sunday morning early breakfast, and of our ‘new and improved’ hospitality after the 10:00 Mass on Sundays. All good, but we need to keep finding ways to be more welcoming, and I believe the Terry and Marion entrance project can be one of them.

      Let me return to the gospel story. The Road to Emmaus is every road we walk. Our challenge is to realize that Jesus is our companion along the road, to listen to him, to welcome him, and, as we do now, to recognize him in the Breaking of the Bread!

Father Michael G. Ryan





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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303