April 30, 2017 - 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Something terrible has happened to them. They had gotten their hopes up but those hopes have been dashed.
Now, looking all downcast and feeling sorry for themselves, they are going home. And, as they walk along, they are trying to process the whole thing.
They are replaying everything over and over, wondering what they could have gone differently, wondering if they made the right choices.
We do this all the time, don’t we? Things happen to us. Bad things. Downcast and depressed, we try to talk through those things. We process them out loud over and over.
But most of the time, when we do this, we get nowhere. We sort of wallow in the mess. And, if we are not careful, we begin to enjoy how others feel sorry for us.
The disciples on the road to Emmaus really aren’t getting anywhere either. They are walking away. They are done. And they are wallowing in self-pity.
That’s when this stranger, a fellow traveler, begins to walk along with them. And what do they do? Probably the same thing we would do. They start telling the story of all their woes.
We were hopeful. We were excited. But our hopes were dashed when our leader was crucified. We’ve been crushed and now we are going home.
What does Jesus say to that? Oh how foolish you are. How slow of heart to believe.
Next Jesus does two things. First, he breaks opens the scriptures for them. He takes the time, while they walk along, to explain the sacred texts in a way that they can understand.
Then he breaks the bread. And at that moment they recognize him.
Don’t these two things sound familiar? They should because they are the two things we do here week after week.
We read the scriptures and have them explained to us. Then we take, bless, break and share the bread. We believe the bread becomes Jesus’ very body. In this way, we recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
These things have a profound effect on the two disciples. They are no longer downcast. They have the courage and the strength to return to Jerusalem. Their lives are forever changed.
The road to Emmaus is a lot like our lives. It is a journey. Our lives are a journey. This is the sacred place where we come to have the scriptures read and explained to us. This is the sacred place where we come to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
And this is where our lives are changed forever, giving us the courage to be good disciples, giving us the strength to get up and go on.