Our Road to Emmaus (from my book ‘A Shepherd’s Voice’, 2007)
Today‘s gospel recounts a post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus before two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. Emmaus is a town away from Jerusalem, where the great tragedy of Christ‘s crucifixion and death occurred. The two disciples were on a journey to Emmaus. During this journey, they were distressed and frustrated. They felt extreme sorrow over what has taken place during the passion and death of Jesus. They were deeply discouraged by the past events that took place in Jerusalem. Amidst all these negative feelings, Jesus patiently accompanied them on their journey. He explained to them the fulfillment of His promise: that He would suffer, die and rise again in glory. This enlightened them. And they recognized Him when Jesus stayed and broke bread with them.
Somehow, we also find ourselves on that road to Emmaus. The road to Emmaus may be our difficult human condition. This human condition may be a physical illness, a strain in a relationship or a problem that we find difficult to bear. This may have brought us discouragement to lose hope in life. But Jesus accompanies us on the road as he did with His two disciples. He makes us realize that his ‘burning presence’ is enough to remedy even the most problematic human condition.
Jesus reminds us, as He reminded his two disciples, about three important graces that dispel discouragement and inspire hope. The first is Sacred Scripture. Jesus interpreted to them every passage of scripture that referred to Him (Luke 24:27). There is always a passage in the Bible that will touch and console us, especially during moments when we are deeply troubled. Jesus is God‘s Word always telling us: “Fear not, I am with you.”
The second is the Eucharist. The disciples recognized Jesus and felt their hearts burning at the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:32). Jesus is our daily bread. Whenever we celebrate mass and receive Him in Holy Communion, we are blessed with His burning presence that assures us of His abiding love.
The third is fraternal communion. The disciples invited Jesus to extend His accompaniment with them. They asked Him: “Stay with us.” (Luke 24:29) Jesus accepted the invitation and stayed with them. This challenges us to acknowledge that we cannot live alone; we need one another. We are even encouraged to extend our invitation to fellowship with one another so as to build an authentic Christian community.
Let us be grateful to the Risen Lord who will always accompany us in our journey to Emmaus—our spiritual journey to eternal life.
Share this insight during this glorious season of #easter