Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-28; I Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24: 13-35
Journey of faith, our hearts burning, surprise along the way and failure to recognize the risen Lord are some of the phrases that sum up the message of this Sunday. During these weeks after Easter, the Church puts us in touch with the first men and women who saw the risen Lord; those who experienced the presence of risen Jesus in order to deepen our appreciation and understanding of the mystery of the resurrection. Before they saw Jesus after the resurrection, the disciples were at a loss. They could not explain or understand what had happened. The readings invite us to reflect on what happened next as the disciples begin to see the mystery of the resurrection unfold before them in their journey of faith. As the early believers explain in today’s first two readings, Jesus was sent according to the set plan and purpose of God; through his dying and his resurrection God has worked miracles, signs and wonders in our midst. Our faith and hope as believers are centered on this mystery.
In today’s Gospel two disciples fail to recognize the risen Lord. As the two walk to Emmaus, Jesus catches up with them and listens to their story of what had happened. That walk to Emmaus is a metaphor for our own life journey of faith, when the Lord catches up with us too. The story of the two disciples to Emmaus is a metaphor for all our life’s journey of faith, particularly when our life struggles lead us to rock bottom; when our faith, hope and trust have been so tested that we wonder where the Lord is. These are the times when we do not recognize the Lord. In moments like these, may our eyes be opened like those of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, so we may recognize the risen Christ “in the breaking of the bread”. When we recognize the Lord, we can no longer be the same. We become not just disciples (followers and learners), but stewards and custodians of the wonderful gift of faith in the risen Lord we have experienced. We become sensitive to every disclosure moment of the risen Lord walking along with us, at times disguised as a stranger, speaking to us, as He breaks open Scriptures for us to understand the meaning of His Story in Our Story. As we journey, we will encounter the risen Lord, at times only after reflection. In today’s gospel, Luke shows us that the ultimate encounter with the permanent presence of the risen Lord comes in two ways: 1) in the breaking open of the Word; and 2) in the Breaking of the Bread - the Eucharist. Like the two disciples making their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, we of today live after the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. In their encounter with the risen Lord, we learn of the manner in which Jesus remains present until He comes again in glory. The message we take home is threefold. 1) Like the two disciples, may our hearts too burn within us as the Risen Lord speaks to us today; may we be fired up to want to share our faith. 2) On our life’s journey of faith, it is only when we welcome the Risen Lord into our home that He reveals his presence as He speaks to us in the scriptures and in the breaking of bread the Eucharist; in our daily stewardship of service to the poor, the suffering, the sick, in our sharing of food with the hungry, in our family prayer. 3) Like the two disciples who left immediately for Jerusalem to tell the story of their encounter with the risen Lord, we too leave after this celebration to share the gift of the Good News we have heard, that “Christ is risen!” ©2017 John S. Mbinda