April 26, 2020 (Sunday) - On the Road Again - A Reflection on Luke 24:13-35

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Two weeks ago, we had reflected on this same story of the two men who had a stroll with Jesus on the road to Emmaus (https://youtu.be/TEMrUVkPO5M). I had said that there were many lessons to be learned from the story, but while I would point you in the right direction, I wasn’t going to draw the conclusions for you because I wanted you to draw them yourselves. Well, since the same story has come up again, I feel it is only fair to tell you what these lessons are.

One. While the two men are talking about Jesus’ death and subsequent disappearance from his grave, Jesus comes and asks them what they are talking about. Doesn’t he know? So why does he ask them? Because he wanted them to state what was bothering them. It is always important to SPECIFY what ails us or troubles us, because then we bring it into the light and Jesus can address it.

Two. We are often told not to question, just believe, which seems to suggest that faith cannot stand up to reason. That’s not true. Faith is logical. If ‘a’ is greater than ‘b’ and ‘b’ is greater than ‘c’, then ‘a’ has to be greater than ‘c’. Although we need to examine what Jesus says with spiritual, not worldly eyes, the rules of logic still apply. So, if Jesus says he is going to die, but will rise on the third day, and on the third day after his death his body is missing, it means he has risen! Period. And we need to come to conclusions like that!

Three. Jesus said the secrets of the kingdom of heaven are hidden, but this does not mean they cannot be found. They can ALL be found, but we need to dig. And dig deep. Why? Because God wants to see if we really want to discover the secrets of heaven. And there is great joy to be had when one discovers something that is hidden. Kinda like a treasure hunt. Which is why Jesus didn’t tell the two men who he was; he wanted them to figure it out themselves. Through Scripture! All the clues are contained there!

Four. Jesus was invited by the two men to stay with them, and I clued you in on this lesson. Jesus doesn’t want to be somebody who is invited when we have nothing better to do, or when we have a need for him like when we call the plumber when there’s a leak to be fixed. He wants to be part of our lives. But he is too much of a gentleman to barge in on his own. So he waits to be invited. And when he is invited, he eats with us. I don’t know if you have realized but close friendships are almost always made over food.

Five. While eating with the two disciples, Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, and breaks it. And when he does this they recognize him. Apart from the obvious connection one makes with the Eucharist — well, a connection that Catholics will certainly make — it illustrates something our Lord always did when he ate a meal. He blessed the food and gave thanks for it. But it isn’t only food he showed gratitude for: it was everything.

Let us be grateful for everything we have today, and it really is a lot!