Perhaps you might think I am overdoing the prophetic-testifying-witness thing? If so, take a hard look at the opening and closing sentences of THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 24: 35 – 48].

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of the bread. ….. You are witnesses to this.

The telling of the story! … We all, without exception, have a story to tell! Do not allow anyone to convince you otherwise. An integral part of the story to be told by every Christian disciple must always involve the personal experiences of God-in-Christ. These are seldom (for most of us, never) experiences of visions, blinding light, voices, or the clashing of symbols! Yet, if we examine our lives each one of us have had encounter-experiences with the action of God in our lives.

These stories MUST BE TOLD!

If we look at THIS SUNDAY’S PSALM [4] EXTRACT we should notice reminders of these experiences – – –

from anguish you released me …

the Lord hears whenever I call …

lift up the light of your face …

You alone make me dwell in safety.

At this moment in time I am reading a fascinatingbook entitled FALLING UPWARD{RICHARD ROHR, OFM: publ: Jossey-Bass}. A few days ago, some lines arrested my attention.

So let’s look at a way through all of this, because spiritually speaking, there are no dead ends. God will use this too – somehow – and draw all of us toward the Great Life. But there is a way to move ahead more naturally, if we can recognise a common disguise and dead end.

What is too often forgotten is the fact that the two disciples needed to tell their story! Very often what we overlook is the fact that we need to tell our story to ourselves. If we fail to do so we do not recognise the disguises we sometimes assume, and fail to accept the times we have reached the ends of dead end streets. I suspect one of the problems of contemporary Church leadership is the fact that leaders are not telling THEIR OWN STORIES. No one can lead if they do not have their own story to tell, AND ARE WILLING TO TELL IT.

If we look back a few verses in this Sunday’s Gospel we will surely recognise that the two disciples concerned had reached a dead end. They were broken men, disillusioned, and hopes had been shattered. It was their experience of the Risen Jesus that changed everything. In some strange way, it was in the telling of their story that the experience became real and valid. Here is the reason we should tell our own story to ourselves. If our story is only a disguise, it will do nothing more than present a dead end to our listeners.

In THIS SUNDAY’S SECOND READING [1 JOHN 2: 1 – 5] the apostle speaks about “refusing to admit the truth”. This is a luxury the Christian disciple cannot afford.

John also makes use of the words liar and our advocate!

All of these ideas come together in the telling of our story. The story we tell must be the real story – all of it, the downs and the ups, the darkness and the light. Otherwise the story is a disguise because the truth is not being admitted. It is of little value to present only the ups and the lights. The disciples of today’s Gospel “told their story” which included how they had been dejected, lost hope, and were leaving Jerusalem. Jesus had been with them, but on the journey they had failed to recognise him. They had reached a dead end. We have all been there, and those who hear our story while they feel hopeless and dejected, need to hear that we understand because we have endured similar experiences. Others, very often, need to know that another ordinary human person has come from darkness to light, discarded a disguise, and found another way.

This is where the advocate (powerfully described in our FIRST SCRIPTURE [ACTS 3: 13 – 15. 17 – 19] comes to life. The story I tell must relate my experience of the advocate when I have recognised my need for him.