I painted this image of “The Road to Emmaus” this week for the cover of our parish bulletin. As I enter into the mystery of the Risen Christ, I find myself along the road, marveling at his love for me and our world.
Dear Believers in the Risen Christ,
The disciples witnessed Jesus’ presence on the road to Emmaus. They were disappointed after his death since they thought him to be the Messiah. In today’s gospel, Luke 24:13-35, we eavesdrop on a conversation the disciples have with a stranger who turns out to be the Risen Christ.
In these gospels of post-Resurrection, we see the disciples struggling to believe in the Resurrection. We also struggle to believe. We are still reluctant to believe that so many things could be different in the Resurrection. We still grumble about our lives, our situations and our purpose as Christians.
The disciples felt this discouragement when a stranger came along side them. This stranger was Jesus. They began to feel their hearts burning when they realized that he was with them in their weariness and unbelief. He broke bread with them and fed them, both physically and spiritually. He listened to them and sent them on to continue his work. Joy abounded in their hearts. Hope was restored in their recognition of Jesus.
We are called to invite Jesus to be our companion along our own journeys. The potential of new life that comes from our hearts of faith is insurmountable. So often we get stuck in our preoccupations with life, in what we don’t seem to possess, and in the old stories we tell our selves that we are not good enough for God. Instead, the Easter season challenges us to be open to Jesus who accompanies us even in times that seem dark and wearisome. He transforms our lives into sheer joy.
Our journey in life is always a tension between unbelief and belief. We gather together to celebrate the Eucharist so that we can change our inner voices of apathy, discouragement and unworthiness. We need to replace our fear with the voice of Jesus that gives us hope, joy and freedom. This often takes a lifetime. Easter is not a one time experience of Jesus’ presence. For us to transform our inner voices of denial, hopelessness and anger, Jesus must be invited into our daily lives and conversations.
Perhaps you have felt the inner peace that comes from recognizing the Resurrection of Christ Jesus. Perhaps your heart has felt the burning of love, desire and hope in his presence. I hope that you have felt within your heart the message of acceptance and peace that Jesus has for you.
We need this message in our community and in our world. We are restless when things do not go as we plan. Our world can be a very violent and dark place for our children and families. Even in world despair, we are challenged to rest in the person of Jesus. We are called to recognize him in the burning of our desire for his presence. Like the disciples before us, we come to recognize him in the Breaking of the Bread.
Blessings to you all,