Apr 29, 2017

An Encounter on the Road


From Bible Commentary, through a Spiritual Meditation to an actual Encounter with Christ


This story of the Road to Emmaus ranks with others like the good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son. We can easily place ourselves into the narrative.  But where exactly is Emmaus?  No one really knows for sure. So, if we start on this road like these two disciples, like us, we often find ourselves on the road to nowhere!

When we are doing so, consider what we are turning our back on - Jerusalem. We know where it is and what happened there - the whole history of salvation finds its epicenter there. Jerusalem is central to Christ - the place of his death and resurrection. The road to nowhere is a departure from this sacred city. This is true in our own lives.  The heavenly Jerusalem is where we belong, where are citizenship has its origin.

Even though we often go off course and down the wrong road, note that Christ will even travel part of that road with us. The darkness is not dark for him.  He is a shepherd, gentle, patience, willing to "shadow us" for our own protection. How remarkable it is that we will not necessary see Christ when he stands alongside us when we are on the wrong path.

Notice also, that the two disciples were very knowable about Christ, the history of salvation.  Even still, with all their theology and historical knowledge, they were still on the wrong path - they really didn't know Christ.  They were, as we are at times, "slow of heart", but fast on our feet in the wrong direction.

They relate to the "stranger" that  “they crucified Jesus but we were hoping that he would redeem Israel”. But that's how he did in fact redeem Israel - not from suffering, but "through" suffering. Tha'ts what the disciples don't get. Why? Because they do not want a Suffering Messiah. Why were they blind. 

Let's go back to the old way of "looking" at the world – to the first meal of the old created order.  “The woman took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave it to her husband and he ate it, then the eyes of them both were opened and they saw that they were naked”. What did they now see? - fear, vulnerability, weakness and sin.  

Consider now the first meal of the new order of creation, the meal at the Emmaus inn on that first Sunday. It was the first meal of the resurrection.  As soon as He broke the break – their eyes were open (now from blindness).  Now they could finally see that the Christ who suffered, had now defeated death.  There was no longer a need to be afraid of suffering or the power of death.

Notice also, when Our Lord disappears, they go back on the road. To where? They were now going to Jerusalem – finally in the right direction. And they do so in joy and with great hope.  

How to Apply the Road to Emmaus to Our Own Lives

1.  Even though we know that we are far from home, maybe caught in a dark place or we have drifted in the wrong direction, all is not lost. 

2.  Allow the stranger, the passerby, a family member, a word from somewhere out of the blue, to allow you to stop in your tracks.  

3.  Listen to the inner voice of your deepest heart - your soul.  Allow this "examination of conscience" to lead you to the "inn" - that is, the place where the sacraments are offered.  

4.  Ask God for the courage to "confess" your hopes and disappointments to Christ. 

5.  Then, He will no longer be a stranger to you.  He will reveal his Real Presence to you through the Breaking of Bread, the Eucharist. 

6.  With that, allow your eyes to be open again.  See Christ in His own light, not in your own.

7.  Get back on the right path that leads you closer and closer into the security of the being part of the flock the Good Shepherd protects and nourishes.


 (CCC 1347).

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