Our Own Walk to Emmaus

Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14, 22-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: "You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. For David says of him: I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. "My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured him forth, as you see and hear."

1 Peter 1:17-21

Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one's works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb. He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus' disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?" And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see." And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?" So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

The readings on this third Sunday of Easter take us on a spiritual roller-coaster ride; one that compels us to take courage and plunge into the deepest and darkest chamber of our heart, so that we may experience the exhilaration of being raised all the way to the top where the fullness of God’s love awaits. That plunge, or leap of faith, is always a choice for each one of us. Are we willing to let go of our human instincts and place our trust in the unfailing hands of our Heavenly Father?

When we go through rough patches of our life, experience extraordinary challenges or significant loss, our human instincts of fight or flight immediately kick in. Some may continue to put up a good fight while others may choose to throw in the towel. When one is overcome by grief or anger, it is hard to imagine that there is a way out of that bottomless pit of pain. In this week’s Gospel, Luke tells us the roller-coaster adventure of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who after experiencing what feels like to them a complete defeat in Jerusalem, decide to leave their troubles behind – they choose flight over fight. One can easily imagine the range of emotions that they might have gone through: grief, anger, fear, loss, and despair. Jesus of Nazareth, someone in whom they have “hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel”, has been “condemned to death and crucified” (Lk 24:20-21). Even though they have also been told about the women’s encounter of the “Angels who said that [Jesus] was alive”, they still cannot bear to remain in Jerusalem (Lk 24:23). These disciples must be feeling pretty downtrodden. What compels them to leave? From what are they running away? Perhaps fear – fear of authorities who may come after them; or grief – their hearts are broken by losing someone dear to them; perhaps hopelessness – they figure that there’s nothing more they can possibly do; or despair – the anchor of their lives is gone and their hearts have become unravelled; perhaps shame – they have not done anything to defend or help Jesus.

When Jesus appears to the two disciples on their journey, “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Lk 24:16). Jesus’ comment about how “foolish” they are is by no means demeaning, rather Jesus, recognizing their “slow of heart”, wants to take this opportunity to open their eyes and heal their heavy hearts (Lk 24:25). Jesus begins to interpret “to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures” (Lk 24:27). Their eyes and hearts are finally open in the breaking of the bread. Amazed, 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” (Lk 24:32)?

The story does not end at the meal. Within the hour, the disciples “got up and returned to Jerusalem” so that they may bear witness to the risen Lord (Lk 24:33). When Jesus opens their eyes and heals their hearts, their spirits are renewed! Jesus has shown them the “path of life” (Ps 16:11) – Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Through the resurrected Christ, their trust in God is resuscitated, “through him you have come to trust in God” (1Pet 1:21). Their journey back to Jerusalem, contrary to their departure, would have been filled with joy and hope. With reluctance, the disciples descend into a place of loss, anger, grief, and despair. With joy, they have been lifted up to the mountain top where they encounter the glory of God, Christ resurrected and breaking bread with them!

The disciples’ walk to Emmaus has ended here; however, our own walk to Emmaus has just begun. Each one of us must walk down this path which may be littered with obstacles and challenges; however, we are not walking alone but with each other and our teacher, Jesus Christ. During this Easter season, may we take courage to take this journey with Christ; with joy and hope, and place our trust in the palms of God’s hands. When we feel tired and hungry, do not fret; return to the Bread of Life – the Eucharist – and be nourished.

Posted: April 26, 2020

Susanna Mak

Susanna深信,信仰需要在日常生活中顯露出來,尤其是當與別人相處時,需要分擔對方所面對的困境、抉擇和挑戰。她有着很多不同的身份:女兒、姐姐、朋友、姨姨、妻子、老師、校牧、終身學習者和偶爾替《生命恩泉》寫作的作者。在每一個身份當中, 她努力為天主的愛和希望作見証。 她在多倫多擔任高中教師近二十年,擁有英語、學生讀寫能力、青年領袖活動、校牧組等經驗。 她是多倫多大學商業和英語學士,教育學士,亞省Athabasca大學綜合研究碩士,以及擁有多倫多大學Regis學院神學研究碩士證書。她對於成為《生命恩泉》寫作團隊的一份子, 深感榮幸。 Susanna has a deep conviction that faith needs to be manifested in daily life, particularly, in one’s encounters with others as well as amidst dilemmas, choices, and challenges. She strives to be a living sign of God’s love and hope as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, wife, teacher, chaplain, life-long learner, and occasional writer for FLL. She has been a high school teacher in Toronto for almost 20 years, with experiences in English and literacy, youth leadership initiatives, the Chaplaincy Team, to mention a few. She has a B. Comm, B.A. in English, and a B. Education from University of Toronto, an M.A. in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University, and a Graduate Certificate of Theological Studies from Regis College, U of T. She is humbled by the opportunity to be part of the FLL Writing Team.

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