Reflections - April 30, 2017

“Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.  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…..So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven.”
 
In this third week of Easter we find ourselves with the account of the disciples of Emmaus.
 
This Gospel tells us about the state of mind of the two disciples.  They had followed Jesus and had seen him perform miracles.  They considered Him a powerful prophet who would release them from the oppression of the Romans.
 
Yet the death of Christ on the cross was a scandal for them because they witnessed the betrayal of one of Jesus’ apostles, the denial of the one chosen as “the rock of the church”, and the flight of the rest.  In this atmosphere of pain and frustration many decide to leave the community.
 
This Gospel is a profound teaching for you and me.  We all need to be prepared because there is a time of darkness and crisis of faith.
 
Ignacious spirituality says that in moments of crisis and darkness “decisions cannot be made”.  The disciples made the decision to abandon the community in Jerusalem.  In this context of crisis Jesus appears to them and talks to them about their “first love”, of what they had experienced when they were called to follow Him.  He walks with them and questions them and hears them.  Later Jesus will explain the Sacred Scriptures and their “hearts will burn within them”.  They found again the reason and foundation in their lives “their first love”.  In the breaking of the bread their eyes were opened and they recognized their friend.  Jesus is the one that gave meaning to their lives.  The disciples return to their community because it is the Eucharist the center that unites them.  Now the disciples do not condemn.  They think and act as the Lord.  These are signs of unity together with the apostles because:  “it is an absurd dichotomy pretending to love Christ without the Church, being in Christ, but outside the Church, listening to Christ, but not to the Church”.  Pope Francis.
 
This story of the disciples of Emmaus invites us to never separate from the Church.  It invites us to always seek aid in the community, in its ministers, and also it is for those who sometimes live dark nights within their families and in parish groups.  Our point of union is to pray with the Word of God to find spiritual discernment and to nourish ourselves with the Holy Communion to be a sign of unity within our community giving spiritual support and Christian hope.