Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gospel of Luke 24:13-35
Downcast and confused, Cleopas and his companion are on their way to Emmaus talking about and debating everything that happened the past few days in Jerusalem.
As they walk, a stranger comes down the road, joins them, and asks, “You look very sad; what’s wrong?”
“Our friend Jesus of Nazareth was handed over to the chief priests and the Roman governor. He was crucified a few days ago. His body is missing from the tomb where he was laid and we don’t understand what has happened,” Cleopas replied.
“Don’t be sad,” the stranger said. “Don’t you believe what the prophets have spoken? Jesus had to die and then rise again.”
The stranger encouraged them to talk about their anxiety and sadness. He listened to their questions about all the events in Jerusalem. He explained the Scriptures to them. The two disciples listened carefully.
When they got to Emmaus they asked the stranger to stay with them and to share a meal. Sitting with them at table, the stranger took bread in his hands, blessed and broke it and gave it to them. At that very moment, the two disciples recognize Jesus! But Jesus quickly disappeared.
“How blind we were,” they said. “Didn’t our hearts seem to ‘burn’ within us as he explained the Scriptures to us? We should have known.”
They joyfully rushed back the seven miles to Jerusalem to tell the apostles: “Jesus is really alive! He broke bread with us!”
We experience an Emmaus journey with every Mass. Gathered together as a worshiping community, we bring with us our hopes, cares and concerns. Jesus comes to meet us through the priest.
He speaks to us through the Scripture readings and the homily. The second part of the Mass follows – the eucharistic prayers, the consecration of the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood, and the reception of holy Communion. Jesus breaks bread with us – he nourishes us with his body and blood.
We are united to Jesus and to each other through his love. Strengthened with the Word of God and united with Jesus through holy Communion, our hearts, too, “burn” with joy, peace and love to share with others.
At every celebration of the Eucharist, we are privileged to meet the Crucified and Risen Jesus. Lord Jesus, make us channels of your grace.