Wednesday in the Octave of Easter, April 24
May Our Journey of Faith Bring Us to Our Own Emmaus, Where We Shall Find God’s Peace and Consolation – a Place Where Our Eyes Shall Be Opened to the Wonders of His Merciful Love.
“Were not our hearts burning within us?” – an expression of wonder and amazement which we read in today’s Gospel.
When a very significant event occurs in our world, it affects countless people and gives many of us memories that last for the rest of our lives. For example, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated affected many people of his day. And the day the Twin Towers in New York City were destroyed and almost 3,000 innocent people were killed by terrorists will be remembered as a day of infamy for generations to come.
And so it was for the two disciples journeying back to Emmaus. They were dismayed that this stranger walking with them appeared to know nothing of the events over the last three days, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days? …The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people…”
In today’s Gospel Reading, Luke presents us with the famous story of the journey on the road to Emmaus – a journey which first started off with sadness and despondency, a sense of depression due to Jesus’ death – and a lack of understanding of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah.
Then, Jesus joins the disciples on their journey, but He keeps His identity hidden from them. And after reaching their destination, and, at the blessing and the breaking of the bread, Scripture tells us, “…their eyes were opened and they recognized him…”
For me, the story of Emmaus is the story about each one of us. It is the story about spiritual blindness and spiritual awakening. It is a story about our own individual walks of faith and our continuing pilgrimage to know, love and serve our Lord more and more with each passing day.
How many of us, and those whom we know, started off with the gift of faith taught to us by our parents or grandparents? How many of us attended CCD, Sunday School or a parochial school or some other form of religious education? Our years of formation in our faith, in whatever way we received it, were similar to the three years of formation which Jesus’ disciples received.
But they had a huge advantage over us – they walked with our Lord, they heard Him speak, they saw the miracles He performed. They witnessed the miracles of the loaves and fishes, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the raising of Lazarus, the healing of the lame, the blind, the deaf, and the long list continues.
And when it appeared to be all over – when Jesus died on the Cross – it was like a great darkness overwhelmed them. They were dumbfounded; their faith was sorely tested, for they could neither fathom nor understand why all this had happened, even though our Lord had spoken several times about the suffering which the Son of Man would have to endure.
Listen again to the words the disciples said to Jesus whom they assumed was a stranger, and place yourself at this scene walking next to our Lord, “…we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” You can almost sense in their voices a despondency and sadness.
Then, for the remainder of their journey to their home in Emmaus, Jesus slowly opened their minds and hearts to all that was written about Him “beginning with Moses and all the prophets.”
Is not each of our lives a pilgrimage of faith, with its countless ups and downs, its numerous peaks and valleys? Is not our life itself a journey of sorts to our own Emmaus, where Jesus will eventually open our eyes, our hearts and our souls to His Loving Presence in our midst?
Just as the beggar in today’s First Reading was struggling with his own life’s journey, Jesus, too, wishes to reach out to each of us in order to heal us. The beggar was completely dependent upon the almsgiving of others who walked passed him. And what does Peter say to him? “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you…”
Peter gave him something which money could not buy – faith in Jesus’ Name! And it is this faith which we carry within us, this faith to which we give witness in our daily lives, a faith which gives us hope, a faith which gives true meaning and direction to our lives, a faith which is echoed in the words of today’s psalmist –
“Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name…Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.”
When we look at our own lives, or at the lives of those we know and love, have we not been affected, in some way, by events which have occurred in our day-to-day living over which we seemingly had no control? Some events can be very positive and light-giving, but there are others which can seem very somber in nature.
Maybe it was the death of a loved one, or maybe someone we know was suffering from unbearable guilt due to an abortion. Maybe you or I or others we know are faced with unemployment, homelessness, an inability to pay bills, separation or divorce, abuse, disobedient or wayward children, disease, incurable illness – and the list just seems endless at times.
Have we not heard the question asked many times before, “Where is God in all my troubles?” or “Why me?”
Despair, anxiety – can easily overwhelm us, even those who are well-grounded in their faith – for we can recall the despair which filled even the Heart and Soul of our Lord at Gethsemane.
I remember a few decades ago, on the cover of Time Magazine, it asked a question, “Is God Dead?” In reality, we know that God is very much alive! We know that He is always at our side, especially when we are sick or troubled or filled with anguish and distress.
It is just that at those times in our life when we are at our lowest, when it feels like the tremendous weight of despair is overwhelming us – we seem to close our eyes and not recognize our Lord’s Loving Presence walking along side of us, just like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
But in our walk of faith, it is our Lord who slowly lifts the burden from us, and we begin to see a light; with an open heart, we find ourselves being lifted up by a force outside of ourselves, and we begin to come to a deeper understanding of God’s providential Love in our lives. We begin to grasp a truth which we did not have before – just as the disciples had said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way…?”
May our walk of faith bring us to our own Emmaus, where we shall find God’s peace and consolation – a place where our eyes shall be opened to the wonders of His Merciful Love, a place where our own hearts will burn within us –
– all because of the unfathomable Love which He holds for each and every one of us! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Then they said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:32)
- “…I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean…” (Acts 3:6)
- “Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name…Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.” (Psalm 105:1ab, 4)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
- “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
- “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
- “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)
Prayer for the Day
“O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your Presence,
Your Love, and Your Strength.
“Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting Love and strengthening Power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us;
for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.”Saint Ignatius of Loyola