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Archive for April 2nd, 2017


Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus – Part I

Fifth Sunday of Lent, April 2, 2017

Fritz von Uhde: The Road to Emmaus

We are quickly approaching Eastertide, my favorite time of year when we want to believe that the story we have heard is true:  we are truly free, the miracle of restoration and resurrection exists, we are already building the kingdom.  Today’s reading is The Road to Emmaus, a story we hear read out to us at Mass following Easter when our hearts are heavy from witnessing the crucifixion but light because the tomb is empty.  If only we might realize that we are Emmaus People, a people who hold a truth too wonderful to keep secret.

I imagine that I have spent much of my life in the same way as these two disciples who leave Jerusalem after the events surrounding Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion.  Things have gotten too hot to handle.  Disappointment at the squashing of a ground swell movement and the execution of its leader has overcome any sense of joy they have previously experienced.  It seems that all good has been wiped from the face of the earth; all light has been sucked from the world.  And yet . . . they journey home in hope, sharing stories of the heady glory days when all possibilities were actually possible.  They meet a fellow traveler and journey with him, drink in his words feeling oddly satisfied and content . . . they invite him to linger.

Léon-Augustin Lhermitte: Friend of the Humble (Supper at Emmaus)

In an intense flash, at the breaking of the bread, they suddenly become fully aware of the identity of this companion.  They abruptly comprehend why they have felt so light and happy as they made their way to Emmaus.  They realize that the hopes they had put away may be taken back out.  The faith they had placed in God’s plan was still valid.  The love they wished to share was still viable.  The Teacher had not lied to them in some silly attempt to ease the pain of their days.  The Teacher had offered – still offered – an opportunity of intimacy with him previously unknown to humankind.  And these two disciples who had left Jerusalem in fear and sadness . . . now retrace their steps to return to the crucible of conflict which their Way of living brought them.  They are transformed.  They are no longer allowing fear to overcome courage.  They do what Paul urges the Ephesians and all of us to do; they have put on Christ, the only protection they need.

We can put ourselves into this story because Luke has left these protagonists nameless.

Things have gotten too hot to handle.  Disappointment at the squashing of a ground swell movement and the execution of its leader has overcome any sense of joy we have previously experienced.  It seems that all good has been wiped from the face of the earth; all light has been sucked from the world.  And yet . . . we journey home in hope, sharing stories of the heady glory days when all possibilities were actually possible.  We meet a fellow traveler and journey with him, drink in his words feeling oddly satisfied and content . . . we invite him to linger. 

Tomorrow, imagine . . .

A Favorite from March 31, 2009.

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