Gospel – Luke 24; 13 – 35
The Church celebrates Easter for fifty days, with the fiftieth day being Pentecost. During these first weeks of Easter we hear the various accounts of the Resurrection and the appearances of our Risen Lord to the Apostles and Disciples. Easter Sunday began, not as a day of joy, but a continuation of the mourning over the death of Jesus. We heard on Easter and last Sunday how the Apostles came to experience the presence of the Risen Lord, and for those like Thomas it took a while for the reality of the Resurrection to sink in. Their joy and alleluias began when they realized that Jesus was no longer dead, but was Risen and truly alive. We still have thirty-six days to go in our Easter Season, and hopefully when we celebrate Pentecost the joy of Easter will continue to deepen our faith for the rest of our lives.
The Gospel for this weekend continues the accounts of what the apostles and disciples experienced on that first Easter. The two disciples left Jerusalem for Emmaus gave the Impression that after the Passion and Death of the Lord, and even after they had heard of the empty tomb, they were going home to return to business as usual. They encounter the Risen Lord and in response to his question tell him of the faith they had in Jesus, their hope that he was the Messiah, and the disappointment in his death. They even mention to him that there was a report that morning of the empty tomb and that Jesus had appeared to some of the followers. It seems that they did not yet believe that Jesus is Risen and chose to go home sad and heavy hearts. Jesus responds by going back to Moses and the prophets and explain to them all that pertained to him. Their eyes were still closed to recognize that this man who was teaching them, was himself the Jesus. In an act of kindness and appreciation they invite him to eat with them, and their eyes are opened when Jesus breaks bread, and vanishes from their sight.
For these two disciples it was Sunday Evening when their Easter began. They were so filled with joy that they reversed directions, and in the midst of the tiredness of spending the day walking to Emmaus they ran all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the Apostles that they had seen the Lord.
Have you seen the Lord? Has his presence filled you with such joy that you became renewed and re-energized in a way that you never expected would happen to you? This Gospel and the Easter Season is a good reminder to us that the Risen Lord is always with us. He is walking with us during times of great joy, as well as in our darkest moments. At times we become so caught up and distracted with what’s happening in our lives that we fail to recognize his presence. Jesus doesn’t give up and leave us, he continues to walk with us. Sometimes we don’t realize his presence and how it is strengthening us, but it is.
During the Easter Season, as we sing the joyful songs and Alleluias, pray that our eyes might be opened to recognize the presence of Jesus. May we may do this with a renewed appreciation for the gift of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. That as we gaze at the consecrated Host, we might see Jesus our Risen Lord. As we awake each morning may we see how he walks with us throughout each day.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.
Image: Jesus and the two disciples On the Road to Emmaus, by Duccio, 1308–1311.