Thursday, April 24, 2014

Two Bound for Emmaus

Yesterday's Liturgy gave us St. Luke's story of the Disciples who were going home to Emmaus. Luke, the artist, paints a verbal picture of two downhearted people. Some writers say they may be a married couple. Or, they may be two male followers of Jesus who had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus, in disguise as a fellow traveler, joins them in their conversation. They were evidently very downcast and sorrowful. Jesus asked them why they were so disheartened. After he found out that the two were deeply saddened and discouraged by the sufferings and death of Jesus. Their hopes pinned on Jesus now seemed their hopes on him to be the promised Messiah of Israel. How could he be anything worthwhile after being executed as a criminal on Golgatha? The Traveler begins to explain. "Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures." When they had reached their destination--or at least were getting ready for a meal and rest--they invited Jesus to stay with them, still not realizing who he was. When they were seated for dinner
"he took bread, said he blessings, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight."
The two from Emmaus immedediately changed their plans and headed back to Jerusalem to tell the Apostles. There they found the eleven Apostles and other disciples who too had seen the Lord Jesus. The two from Emmaus reflected on their conversation with Jesus. Their "hearts were burning" they recalled as they conversed with Jesus. Do we let our hearts catch fire as we converse with Jesus? As we listen and pray with his word, the Bible? We can get used to hearing and reading the gospel stories. So what new, good thing can he tell me today? If we leave Jesus space to get into our minds and hearts, he can transform us.
In today's gospel, Luke continues the story after the Emmaus disciples arrive back in Jerusalem. this time Jesus appears to the whole group gathered with Peter and the other Apostles. Jesus again reminds them that he fulfilled all that was said about him from Moses and the other prophets. Today's reflection by the Irish Jesuits on their Sacred Space website offer us some more food for our mins and hearts.
And out of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection comes the mission to proclaim reconciliation with God through Jesus to the whole word. “You are witnesses to this.” It is their mission to carry on the establishment of the Kingdom throughout the world. Or, as it is put here, “that repentance, for the forgiveness of sin, would be preached in the [Messiah's] name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem”. The Kingdom is being realised when people go through that process of radical conversion and change of life (‘repentance’ metanoia) which brings about a deep reconciliation of each one with God, with all those around them and with themselves, when all divisions fall away, when fear and hostility are replaced with a caring love for each other. If we have not yet done so, let us become part of that great enterprise today.

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