26 April 2020 Third Sunday of Easter
“Jesus meet us on our Emmaus Road”
Today we are on the third Sunday of Easter. Our Scripture readings today have one common, encouraging theme: No matter what happens in our lives, the Risen Jesus is always with us. God is near to those who seek Him and who want to live in His presence doing His will. The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, presents the beginning of Peter’s first public proclamation about Jesus and how God raised Jesus from death, thus fulfilling the messianic prophecies about the promised descendant of David.
1) The Emmaus incident, described in today’s Gospel, is a story of a God who will not leave us alone when we are hurt and disappointed. The disciples going to Emmaus were really sad, disappointed, frustrated, confused, not knowing what to do without Jesus. May be, we are in such a confused state today as the pandemic continues, we are isolated with social distances. May be we come with all these feelings to celebrate the Mass or even watch the Mass on the TV. In the midst of those confusions Jesus came to the disciples and joins them as a companion. The Emmaus story teaches us that the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus fit God’s purpose as revealed in the Scriptures: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? We should never be disappointed even in the midst of suffering, pain, or any pandemic because we are sure that healing, victory and glory awaits us.
2) Jesus meets us on our Emmaus Road. Two depressed disciples leave the company of the apostles and believers in Jerusalem and head for Emmaus to get away from it all. They were “prevented” from recognizing Jesus, perhaps partly by preoccupation with their own disappointment and problems. The risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmaus, in the ordinary experiences of our lives. The story warns us, however, that the risen Lord will come to us in unfamiliar ways to support and strengthen us when we least expect him. Emmaus moments come to us when we meet the risen Christ on our life’s journey through rough times.
The incident further illustrates that Jesus is with us even when we do not recognize him. Though we may see those who are different from us as strangers, today’s gospel challenges us to start seeing them simply as companions on the way. When we reach out to them in hospitality we reach out to God and attract a blessing to ourselves.
3) The road to Emmaus is a road of companionship. 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. “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). The risen Jesus is present in our midst and wants to be our friend. The Risen Lord desires that we walk with Him and with one another. Isaiah 43:2-3: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” He wants to join us in our travels of life. Psalms 119:63, “I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.” Matthew’s Gospel (18:20) tells us “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.”
4) The structure of this story very well reflects our Eucharistic celebration. The Liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. Jesus began revealing himself through the scriptures (vv. 25-27) and completed the revelation through the Eucharist. We meet Jesus on a daily basis in our life’s journey by listening to the Word of God, through the Bible. Do our hearts burn when we listen to the Risen Lord in the Bible? Christ comes to us most clearly in the Word. We need to read the Scriptures daily to meet and converse with Jesus Christ.
Thus the risen Christ is revealed through the telling of the story, the interpretation of scripture, and finally in the breaking of bread. (vv. 30-31). This means that Christ still reveals himself to us through Word and Sacrament. It also reminds us that our belief in Jesus’ presence in the Bread and Wine should help us better understand his presence in the Bible and in the believing community. The story uses the liturgical language: While at the table Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (v 30).
In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we see and receive Christ. In John’s Gospel (Ch. 6) Jesus tells us, “Whoever eats my body and drinks my blood shall live with me eternally.” In the Eucharist we are in communion not only with Jesus, but also with our family and friends. By receiving the Eucharist we become one with Him. And we ourselves have to become a Eucharist for others. When we offer ourselves and what we have, ask God to bless it, and we divide ourselves, our time, talent and treasure and share those with others so we ourselves become a Eucharist to one another.
Finally, we have a risen Savior, one who personally walks with us in our daily paths, talks with us through His Word and with whom we can talk through prayer. He is the one who opens our minds to understand and respond to His Word. He is with us and concerned about us. Let us, therefore, walk with Him, talk with Him, depend on Him, worship Him, and tell everyone that Jesus Christ is risen and He is with us always.
May God bless you!