Homily and Accompanying Materials for the 3rd Sunday of Easter in a time of Pandemic

Dear Friends, 

Once again, we are kept apart, but I hope you feel, as do I, that we remain a community whether we can physically be together or not. I pray for you that you will stay safe and well–please be in touch, at, krredig@hbci.com or 507-429-3616 if I can be of any help during this time. Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

Entrance Antiphon

Let all the earth cry out to God with joy; proclaim God’s glorious praise, Alleluia!

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Creator God, author of all truth, a people once in darkness has listened to your word and followed your Son as he rose from the tomb.  Hear the prayer of this newborn people and strengthen your Church to answer your call.  May we rise and come forth into the light of day, to stand in your presence until eternity dawns.  We ask this of you, in Jesus wonderful name and with the Spirit, one God, who lives and loves us forever and ever. Amen.


  • Acts 2:  14, 22-28
  • 1 Peter 1:17-21
  • Luke 24: 13-35


Friends, I am going to “cut to the chase” this weekend which brings us to the 3rd week of Easter, in a time of pandemic and say very simply and succinctly that the message we all should reflect on as we ponder today’s readings is—“It’s all about love!”

Now that having been said, next; we need to understand that to truly love is a most challenging activity! It calls us—“this loving” to be our very best selves.  It calls us in our present-day world to somehow get past ignorant statements in place of leadership, selfishness when merciful governing is called for, and move toward those who are truly leading in our Congress and State houses, keeping our eyes on their reflections—witnessing that while, difficult, are what is best for our nation and our world.

Today’s gospel from Luke lifts up the fact that in the strange, fearful, yet hope-filled times after Jesus’ rising to new life, people, like those disciples on the way to Emmaus didn’t know Jesus until he did “something that was familiar to them.”  Scripture says, “Their eyes were opened” when he “broke the bread.”  This action of, “breaking the bread,” we must remember, is sign and symbol of Jesus’ own “breaking open” of his entire life—for all of creation, showing us how to truly live.

In this time of pandemic—something that most of us alive today, have never witnessed until now; we must move beyond the present chaos, a virus that has brought our world to a standstill, and ask, “What is it now that truly “breaks our hearts open” and as the disciples on the way to Emmaus, makes those same hearts, “burn within us?”

“Being our best selves” in these times that calls for nothing less, will help us to understand the truth when we hear it—truth that works for the good of all, as opposed to lies that are simply—self-serving and many times, dangerous.  Only a self-serving, so-called leader would suggest that people be injected with disinfectants on the outside chance that it might kill a virus!  On the other hand, our hearts “break open and burn within us” when we hear the head of the United Nations Food Program share the truth that even before the onset of the coronavirus, millions of people in this world were on a trajectory toward starvation!  That number is doubled now, he informed the PBS News Hour, with Covid 19.

Last week we talked about what perhaps needs to be “resurrected” within each of us to make Jesus’ resurrection complete.  For me, it comes down to, listening with a heart truly broken open to what our God is trying to tell us, now, in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic, that if we were to do nothing could utterly destroy us—poor and rich alike.

This pandemic, like the call of our brother Jesus, is all about rising to the occasion and becoming all that we can be.  Being OK with the fact that more than half of the people in this world live on less than $10,000 a year is not being our best.  Being OK with the fact that even before the coronavirus, millions of people were headed toward starvation if not for the United Nations feeding them weekly is not being our best selves.  Being OK with the fact that poor and dark-skinned people in this world are hardest hit by a pandemic is not being our best selves and should call us to make some long-term changes if we manage to come through the other side of this thing.

And you might say—well, Pastor, I’m not OK with any of this!  And even though it hurts me to say it, because I indict myself as well, if we don’t actively work to change the present disparity between the rich and the poor in our world, we ARE OK with it!

All of the readings this Sunday speak to the idea of “being on a journey.”  In the 1st reading from Luke in Acts; we hear that God “sent” Jesus with “miracles and signs”—which [show us], “the path to life.”  Psalm 16 confirms this notion, “You will show me the path that leads to life.”  Peter, in the 2nd reading, consuls, that we should, “conduct ourselves reverently during our sojourn in a strange land.”   The gospel, also from Luke speaks of disciples, “on their way to Emmaus.”

This past week, our world celebrated Earth Day plus 50 years.  We have been on a long journey trying to save our planet these past 50 years—there have been ups and downs on this journey.  The “ups” are reflective of the “reverencing” that Peter speaks of today—the literal, breaking open of our hearts at our earthly home’s beauty, so much so that we have been willing to be about initiatives with the countries of the world to save our planet from global warming.  The “downs” of course, are reflective of a lack of that same “reverencing.”

Sometimes my friends, the concerns of our daily lives are all, it seems, that we can handle and that notion is reflective of my life as it is of yours.  A time of pandemic that threatens all of our lives if we don’t take it seriously is a time that must call all of us to see a bigger picture—we are all connected in this world—this pandemic levels the “playing field.”

An illness that has no cure at present is a wake-up call for us all because while it is true that a pandemic will take the most vulnerable first; the poor, the already sick, the elderly, the homeless—it will eventually take us all if we don’t work together for the good of us all.

We are all on a unique journey together—all belief systems have a sense of this, and this journey is toward an existence greater than this one; where all people—no matter their gender, race, sexual orientation, financial status, or any other, perceived impediment, will be welcomed.

I began this homily with the statement that basically, “it is all about love” and the challenge that to truly love, is no small task.  I would like to conclude with some words from a ballad by local, singer-songwriter, John Smith, entitled, “Love’s Not through With Me Yet!”

I included mention of this ballad three years ago in a homily and I know that in the past, I have thought of its sentiment in a somewhat negative way, thinking that, “love is not through with me yet, because I am not yet doing it right.  But this go-around finds me thinking more positively: John Smith very poetically asks, “Can you love without needing?”—which speaks to the notion that “love” is bigger than just about me.  And again, he asks, “Can you love without bleeding?” which is all about the “reverencing” that we must show toward our earth and its people.  And if you can do these things, than basically, there is hope for our world, because, indeed, “love isn’t through with us yet!”

After the resurrection, Mary of Magdala and the disciples on the way to Emmaus knew Jesus when he did something, “familiar”—“calling her by name” and “breaking bread” with them.  Let us know and realize, that as Jesus’ followers, what others should recognize in us as, “familiar” is doing the “good” and the “right” in our world and for its people.  Amen? Amen!

Prayers of the Faithful

Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Jesus, in your risen state, open a space in us to see you more often in those you send into our lives, we pray—

      Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

 2. O Risen Jesus, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the words and deeds of peace, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Jesus, risen Savior, you who were a healer in every way, freeing people’s minds, hearts and bodies of illness of every kind, grant us health in these same ways, especially now during this time of pandemic, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

 4.  Risen Jesus, you who have said, you will never leave us—help us to truly believe this and feel the strength and peace of having you journey with us in our lives, we pray—

      Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Risen Jesus, our brother and friend, give hope to those who are suffering in any way due to a lack in the material basics of life, brought on by the coronavirus, and help us to do all we can to share what we have, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

 6.  Risen Jesus, let your Spirit be with all world leaders that they would strive to bring peace to our world through communication, especially now, we pray—

      Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Risen Jesus, in your new, resurrected life, continue to be our constant model of one who lived very simply upon the earth, and show us how to do the same—let the lessons of this pandemic not be lost on us, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

 8.  Risen Jesus, you who never turned anyone away, be with our community, All Are One—continue to bless us and assist us to be open to all of your people and guide us to remain a community during this time of social distancing, we pray—

Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially due to Covid 19—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their

grief, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud, we pray, then response

***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts—(pause) we pray, then response

Let Us Pray

Jesus, you have truly risen!  Alleluia!  Be the strength we need each day to be people of the resurrection—true to our calling to be people of peace and of love. Let us never falter in our commitment to you and your world.  Open our eyes, ears and hearts to your people that we may see you in them and act then, accordingly. Give us understanding minds and hearts for those that we find hard to love—help us to remember that we have been much loved and accepted in our lives for our less than perfect ways. We ask all of this of you, our loving Savior and with the Creator and your loving Spirit— all, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.

Let Us Pray

Prayer after Communion–again we remember that in the absence of the physical bread, that our brother Jesus is always with us and wants us to share “this bread” with our world.

Loving God, look on your people with kindness and by these Easter mysteries bring us to the glory of the resurrection.  We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name.  Amen