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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Road to Emmaus Opportunity – Stay with Us Lord

The Road to Emmaus Opportunity
Stay with Us Lord

“Stay with us, Lord, for it is almost evening” (cf. Lk 24:29). This was the insistent invitation that the two disciples journeying to Emmaus on the evening of the day of the resurrection addressed to the Wayfarer who had accompanied them on their journey. Weighed down with sadness, they never imagined that this stranger was none other than their Master, risen from the dead. Yet they felt their hearts burning within them (cf. v. 32) as he spoke to them and “explained” the Scriptures. The light of the Word unlocked the hardness of their hearts and “opened their eyes” (cf. v. 31). Amid the shadows of the passing day and the darkness that clouded their spirit, the Wayfarer brought a ray of light which rekindled their hope and led their hearts to yearn for the fullness of light. “Stay with us”, they pleaded. And he agreed. Soon afterwards, Jesus' face would disappear, yet the Master would “stay” with them, hidden in the “breaking of the bread” which had opened their eyes to recognize him.” (Pope John Paul II Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine, #1, October 7, 2004)

On the afternoon of the first Easter, two disciples walking to Emmaus encounter the risen Lord. The disciples are sad (Luke 24:17) and without hope (Luke 24:21). A Wayfarer [Jesus] joins them on their journey asking them about their conversation. “Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (Luke 24:18) The two do not recognize Jesus as he walks with them. While they continue their journey, Jesus, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, explains to them everything “in the scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)

As the three approached Emmaus, Jesus “appeared to be going further,” so the two asked if he would “stay with” them because evening was approaching. Jesus stayed and “when he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.” At this time the eyes of the disciples “were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.” (Luke 24:28-30)

On the road to Emmaus Jesus celebrated the first Mass after his resurrection. Jesus, our great high priest, his priesthood greater than that of the priests of the old covenant and the Mosaic Law (Hebrews 4:14-7:28) modeled for us the rubrics of the Mass. He spoke to us in the Liturgy of the Word, (Luke 24:25-27) and then he came to us in the breaking of the bread, the Liturgy of the Eucharist (Luke 24:30)

Then the disciple’s hearts and minds were opened as they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, understanding why their hearts were enkindled as he spoke to them on the road to Emmaus. (Luke24: 31-32)

As Saint Augustine wrote in his Confessions, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you [God],” and St. Josemaria Escriva wrote in Friends of God, “You [God] alone can satisfy this longing that consumes us,” deep down we are all longing, searching, filling our days with anything, everything, just to fill the God sized hole in our heart. Jesus will never force us to open our eyes and see him, he loves us too much to take away our free will, yet he is always there, walking patiently at our side on our journey, each day offering us a “road to Emmaus” opportunity.

Road to Emmaus - Jacques Stella
Road to Emmaus - Duccio di Buonisegna
Meal at Emmaus - Carvaggio
Meal at Emmaus - Rembrandt

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