Date: Sunday, April 30, 2017
I have a painting hanging in the rectory living room with the caption: “On the Road to Emmaus.” It was given to me by the niece of Janet and Stanley after Janet died. It depicts Jesus, a stranger, walking with two disciples who are leaving Jerusalem after the death of Jesus. The painting had special meaning to Janet and Stanley who had gone through great hardship during and after WWII. During the darkest days of their lives they had come to believe that Jesus was walking with them.
Walking can be purposeful. In the Gospel according to St. Luke Jesus and his disciples intentionally walk to Jerusalem. Now, after the trauma of the crucifixion, two disciples, distraught and dispirited, are walking to Emmaus – a village 7 miles from Jerusalem. Jesus, the Risen Lord, unrecognized, walks with them. He inquires about their conversation. They are discussing the tragic events that have happened to Jesus. Jesus gently chides them for not understanding the scriptures. He explains that what has occurred is part of God’s plan. When they reach their destination, the disciples ask the stranger to stay for hospitality. Jesus takes bread, says the blessing, breaks it and gives it to them. Their eyes are open and they recognize Jesus. He vanishes. They return to Jerusalem to share the good news.
We have the pattern of the community coming to believe in the resurrection: appearances of the Risen Lord, reflection on Sacred Scripture and Eucharist. We are people of "the Way.” A pilgrim people. While we pray and when we meet strangers, we walk with Jesus – and he transforms our lives.