By Father Larry Hehman
6 x 9 inches
Pub date: February 2019
They sat at the table, the woven white cloth upon it was Mary's, and they gently broke the loaf and poured the wine in memory of the One they loved. Surely, they recalled what he said and how, while he was with them, they felt loved, secure, challenged, and whole.
They shared all this with the stranger – the one with whom they walked and invited to their table. Somehow, in it all, there was a divine encounter and they felt him, they heard him, and their hearts burned within them. Nothing was ordinary about that moment even though everything seemed ordinary; each heard what they needed to hear – it was inaudible – it was the voice of grace!
Emmaus was more than a location; it was a warm spring deep within that was home to Presence beyond human comprehension: that miraculously ordinary place where the stranger is Christ.
We come to the sacred table – each of us – wonderfully made in the image of the Divine whose Word became human, broke bread, shared wine, and lived among us with a love that was born in eternity. If our hearts burn within us, it is because we have heard his voice, our eyes have been opened, and we, by grace, become one with him and each other as we share the story, the loaf, and the cup.
Fr. Larry Hehman's powerful ministry of Word and Sacrament has caused many hearts to burn; by preaching The Word and providing moments that encourage every sister and brother to listen deeply beyond his words, consider mysteries beyond human understanding, and to become more and more aware of God's own voice and presence in a dialogue that can only be understood by grace, Fr. Larry has facilitated a divine conversation. Indeed, his ministry has provided a warm deep spring that is nothing less than Emmaus – a place where eyes are opened, hearts are set on fire, and we are challenged to recognize the One who calls us to continue the conversation and the journey feeling loved, secure, challenged, and whole.
—Stan "JR" Zerkowski, Lexington UNITED Interfaith Encounters
About the Author
Fr. Larry Hehman, MA, MEd, was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1965. He has served in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, and the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. His many years of ministry have afforded him numerous opportunities to serve, including as instructor of German and religion at Covington Latin School (1965-68), chaplain at the University of Kentucky Newman Center (1969-77), first pastor of Holy Spirit Parish at the University of Kentucky Newman Center (1978-86), pastor of Christ the King Church, Lexington, (1986-88), rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Lexington (1988-94), founding pastor of Pax Christi Church, Lexington, (1994-2004), priests' personnel director for the Diocese of Lexington (1998-2004), president of the Priests' Senate, Diocese of Covington (1980-92), chair of Presbyterial Council, Diocese of Lexington (1988-90). Fr. Larry retired in July 2004 and now serves at local parishes where he shares in sacramental, teaching, and preaching ministry. Weekly, since 2013, he has produced a Sunday homily on YouTube. His ministry of preaching the Word has touched the hearts and lives of generations of parishioners in the Bluegrass and far beyond. He is a prophetic voice for social justice issues, the dignity of every person, respect for diversity, and the value of dialogue – with the Word and one another.