Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…
This is the third Sunday of Easter. I really love the second reading. Saint Peter reminds us something very precious: “Beloved, realize that you were ransomed…not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ…” It doesn’t matter what we are and who we are, we are very precious in the eyes God; for we are saved by the blood of Christ. So we should never lose hope for God who saved us by the blood of Christ answers our prayers. And the Gospel teaches us that no matter what happens in our lives, the Risen Jesus is always with us. Luke’s Emmaus Gospel is a beautiful, theological dramatization of one of the encounters of the disciples with their Risen Lord during those wonder-filled days after the discovery of the empty tomb. It is the story of how on Easter Sunday two disciples of Jesus, discouraged and devastated, set out on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus — a distance of about seven miles — and were met by a Stranger going along the same road. They began to speak to Him about all that had occurred in the Holy City during the previous week. They were “prevented” from recognizing the Stranger, Jesus, perhaps partly by preoccupation with their own disappointment and problems. As they journeyed on, Jesus showed them how the Scriptures had foretold all that He had done and suffered, including his death and its purpose. His coming to them and walking alongside of them illustrates the truth that the road to Emmaus is a road of companionship with Jesus who desires to walk with each of us. The incident further illustrates that Jesus is with us even when we do not recognize him.
They invited Jesus for a night’s rest in their house–and Jesus accepted the invitation. During the meal, when Jesus broke the bread and gave it to them, the disciples realized that this stranger was Jesus, the Risen Christ, and Jesus immediately vanished. Later they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us when he opened up the Scriptures to us?” Since they could not keep the Good News to themselves, the Emmaus disciples walked back seven miles to Jerusalem to share their story with the other disciples.
When the disciples met Jesus on the road it was a gentle meeting. He walked by their side. He listened to their story. He met them where they were at. He met them at their own level. We too meet Jesus in people who treat us like that, who listen to our stories even if it doesn’t make sense to them. We meet Jesus in people who have the time to talk to us and listen to our troubles without being patronizing. We meet Jesus in the people who accept us with all our faults and failings. We meet Jesus in the people who help us to have a positive attitude towards life, and by helping us in that way, they help us to stop on the road to the depression of Emmaus and return to the joy of our everyday tasks in Jerusalem. The Risen Lord still walks with us. He encounters us every day in the Eucharist for this Gospel is the first Eucharist ever celebrated. Luke tells us that we can meet and experience the Risen Lord through the reading and interpretation of Scripture, and the “Breaking of the Bread,” as the Lord’s Supper was known then. The Risen Christ is revealed through the telling of the story, the interpretation of Scripture, and the Breaking of the Bread. Jesus began revealing himself through the Scriptures and completed the revelation through the Eucharist. This means that Christ still reveals himself to us through Word and Sacrament.
The Risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmaus in the ordinary experiences of our lives and in the places to which we retreat when life is too much for us. We, too, have hopes and dreams about better health, healing, financial security and better family relationships. These often get shattered. The story promises us, however, that Jesus will come to us in unfamiliar guises to support and strengthen us when we least expect the Risen Lord. Emmaus moments come to us when we meet the Risen Christ on our life’s journey through rough times.
What a difference it makes to have Jesus in our life! With Jesus we have a positive attitude and enjoy life. How wretched our life would be without Jesus! Without Jesus we would be in a mess. When we meet Jesus in the Scripture and the Eucharist and have our thinking healed we too can stop on the road to the depression of Emmaus and return to the joy of our everyday tasks in Jerusalem.
God Bless You,