Today, the universal Church continues to celebrate the Resurrection of her Lord. The Easter Season is a blessed time for us to recall the Lord’s presence among us and to deepen in our sense of mission as his disciples.
Today, we hear in the Gospel, “The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.”
The account of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus is a treasure chest of divine truths. It teaches us (and reminds us) of Lord’s initiative toward each of us. The account helps us to understand the presence and goodness of the Risen Christ as he turns confused, scared, and distracted hearts into peaceful hearts. He turns sorrowful hearts into strong hearts that burn with hope and a sense of mission.
Truth be told, the two disciples had given up. We are told they were leaving the holy city Jerusalem. They wanted to leave behind the place where Jesus died, but in reality they were leaving the place where the Lord rose from the dead. They had been told that Jesus had risen, but they didn’t believe it.
They were leaving the holy city in desolation, saying, “We thought that he was going to be the one.” They had lost their confidence in the Lord Jesus. They had no hope, no faith, no willingness to hear the testimony or to believe in the power of the Resurrection.
The two disciples were so distracted in their disappointment that they couldn’t see the mighty works that were already happening in Jerusalem. They could not recognize Jesus when he began to accompany them. We also get so distracted by our own emotions, disappointments, sorrows, loneliness, and anxiety that we can’t even see the mighty works of God happening right in front of us.
In our lives, we have to allow ourselves to have the eyes of faith. The two disciples had abandoned belief in the Lord Jesus, yet he sought them out. What a powerful display of love. The Lord went to them, searched for them, sought to walk with them. He began a journey with them.
The Lord Jesus seeks us out, even in our darkest hours. While we can be unfaithful, he is always faithful to us. He wants to journey with us. He wants to walk with us, to be a part of our lives and make us strong. He seeks to fill us up with immense hope and a zealous sense of mission.
As the two disciples reached Emmaus, they asked the Lord to stay with them, since the night was coming. The Lord who sought them out and taught them was now being sought out. Their hearts had been converted. They had been given new strength. With their hearts now burning, they said to Jesus, “Stay with us.”
As we seek to live in peace, this should be the petition of our hearts: “Lord, stay with me. Help me!” Such a petition nurtures and fuels our spirits. The disciples asked and the Lord Jesus stayed. Then he disappeared from their presence after the Breaking of the Bread. As he disappeared, the disciples were reborn and ran to Jerusalem to announce what had happened. They were new creations. The sorrow had given way to purpose.
As they arrived and told the account of the Lord’s presence with them, the Gospel tells us: “While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
The joy and mission of the two disciples is now shared with the entire Christian community.
Such a return to mission reminds us that – in the Risen Christ – we will get through the difficulties that are a part of our fallen world. The heaviness and hardships of our lives are not the end, and they do not define us. Try as they might, they do not define our world. The sorrows and sufferings of the world have no power over us.
We will walk through this valley of the shadow of darkness, knowing that the Risen Christ, the strong and powerful Lord, is with us, guiding us and giving us his strength.
Follow Father Jeffrey Kirby on Twitter: @fatherkirby