Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
1 Peter 1:17-21
The Road to Emmaus ~ A Journey Into Belief
On this third Sunday of Easter we hear the story of two of Jesus’ disciples walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus. Jesus appears to them and asks them what they are conversing about. The disciples recall how they had placed their hopes in Jesus, only to see him die. They relate that the women of the group reported that they had seen Jesus alive but that they themselves were unable to testify to this fact, having not seen him with their own eyes. The discerning Christian might wonder: Why were these men walking away from Jerusalem if they had been told Jesus was alive? Jesus’ response to the two disciples sheds light on the answer to this question. The disciples were walking away because they did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. Later, however, their hearts were filled with the words from Jesus’ own lips as he revealed the scriptures to them and their eyes were opened in the breaking of the bread.
Each time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist it is like the event in today’s gospel. The scriptures are opened for us during the proclamation of the Word and in the breaking of the Bread of Life. The question is: Do we really believe in what is happening when we celebrate the Mass? Our hearts can truly burn within us if we listen to the Word of God with discerning faith and Christ truly becomes present to us in the consecration and in the breaking of the bread. Jesus stunned the disciples two thousand years ago by his presence among them. This same Jesus can profoundly affect us if we open ourselves to him. His words still teach us how to live and the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist continues to be our food for the journey.
The reality of the resurrection can only impact us if we open ourselves to belief. The resurrection brings us transformation and hope. When we look deeply inside ourselves, we can ask God to transform what is dead within us. Resurrection reminds us that our destiny does not lie in death but in eternal life. This knowledge holds us accountable to the message of Jesus. We are challenged to be food for the hungry, friend of the poor, compassion to the sinner, and comfort to the most vulnerable of society. It is through acts such as these that the risen Christ continues to bless the earth. At the end of the Emmaus story, the disciples returned to Jerusalem because they wanted to give witness to the Risen Jesus to the others who had stayed together. They are greeted with the news that Jesus had revealed himself to Simon, and then they shared their story. Each one of us encounters Jesus in unique ways. We recognize Jesus during the profound moments of our lives. We are challenged by the wisdom of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures and by the nourishment He gives us in the Holy Eucharist. Just like the disciples who returned to Jerusalem, we too are asked to share our experience of the Risen Lord with others.
In the breaking of the bread we know you Lord and we are fed. Instill in our hearts the flame of your love and your truth. Without you, Lord, we are empty vessels – fill us with wisdom and walk with us on the road of life. Amen.
Why do you think the two disciples left Jerusalem?
What was their understanding of what had taken place in Jerusalem?
Do the disciples believe in what the women had told them?
How does Jesus respond to the disciples?
What is your understanding of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
How does the Jesus event resonate with you on a day to day basis?
How do you give witness to the ongoing presence of Jesus in the world today?
If Jesus were to appear to you, what do you think he would say about the understanding you have of him?
What would Jesus say about your understanding of the Real Presence and your participation within the Church?
What is the most significant thing about the story of Emmaus for you personally?
Voices of Faith
The Road to Emmaus
Now on that same day
When stories of angels say
He is alive
An empty tomb remains void of decay
Disciples journey along the way
Walking away from that holy day
To Emmaus they set forth
Leaving behind the friends of the Way
Amidst confusion and lack of faith
The Risen One walks without delay
He opens their hearts to understand
The message that will lead them to the Promised Land
Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow to believe all the prophets did teach
The Risen Christ did speak
For the Messiah should suffer in order to enter into his glory
The disciples’ souls hunger for more
They urge the “Stranger” to stay a little longer
Into their house the Master does tread
Waiting to reveal himself in the Breaking of the Bread
And so at table the Master, Teacher, and Lord
Sits in the midst of them all
He takes the bread in his Sacred Hands
In which be blesses, breaks and shares
In the Breaking of the Bread
The disciples’ eyes become open
A stranger no longer his mystery revealed
A wounded healer risen indeed
With burning hearts they journey forth
To return to the holy city
To announce to the ones once trapped by fear
In the Breaking of the Bread they saw him near
—“Peaceful Moments” by Fr. John J. Ludden