Wednesday within Octave of Easter, April 7
Acts 3:1-10 / Luke 24:13-45
Two disciples welcome a stranger; The stranger turned out to be Jesus.
The Emmaus episode dramatizes three of the ways that people encountered the risen Jesus: in the broken brother, the broken word, and the broken bread.
First, they met Jesus in the broken brother. That is, they encountered him in a stranger who was traveling all alone— a dangerous thing to do in ancient times. (Recall the parable of the good Samaritan.) "Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine," said Jesus, "you did for me." Matthew 25:40
Second, they met Jesus in the broken word. Their hearts began "burning" within them when Jesus opened the Scriptures to them.
Third, they met Jesus in broken bread. He "took bread …. and they the recognized him.".
Where do we meet Jesus most easily? "When Jesus comes, the shadows depart."
It may happen to us, as to the disciples on Emmaus, that we are discouraged and disillusioned on our pilgrim of life. Without being aware of the Lord’s presence, we travel, we converse with strangers or friends, we eat meals, we are indifferent or have little hope. But questioned by the words and the presence of the Risen Lord, we journey forward with him as our brother and Lord, we recognize him with one another and particularly in our Eucharistic assemblies. We become a people of hope. We recognize him when we break bread for one another. And when we share what we have with one another. And if so, people may perhaps recognize him also in us. Like the lame man in the first reading, we get on our feet, jump about with joy and hope, and praise God in word and deed.
Beggars have always and everywhere been found at the entrance to a house of prayer, a good place to practice their profession. Going into or coining from the presence of God makes people give what ask for: a gift of mercy. Peter and John go at the fixed time for prayer. The Spirit does not inspire them not to keep fixed times. For the Jews there were three special hours of prayer: In the morning at nine, at noon and at three in the afternoon. The fixed hour helps regularity. At the Beautiful Gate they meet the lame man. The lame, the blind and the pagan were not allowed inside the temple. His joy was therefore so much greater when he was allowed in after his cure. Cured in the name of Jesus, Peter gave him a hand. He rose, ran around and praised God. "In the name of Jesus, walk". We can replace the verb "walk" with study, obey, work, suffer, go to office, and so on, and so on...
Things will look clearer and have more meaning when we take time to look at them. But too often we rush through life and we only glance at things and miss the meaning and the beauty they have for us. What is said of things can also be said of people; we are too much in a rush to notice the meaning and the beauty in people. Or we may be too absorbed with our own needs and when we look at people, we only see what we can get from them.
Like that crippled man in the 1st reading. He saw Peter and John and he could only think of what financial help he could get from them. But Peter and John looked straight at him and they could see that the Lord wanted to give that man something that silver or gold cannot buy.
Similarly, in the gospel, the two disciples saw Jesus, but they were just too absorbed in themselves to see something more in that stranger who was walking along with them. It was only at the breaking of bread that they saw who this stranger really was and what He wanted to give them. As we rejoice in the joy of the Resurrection, we have also come together in this Eucharist to break bread with the Lord. May our eyes be opened to see the graces and blessings He is giving us so that our hearts will burn with love for God. May we also look at things and people with the love of God and see the meaning and the beauty in them.
God, our Father, you are a God not of the dead nor of those paralyzed by their fears and limitations but the God of the living. Raise us up and make us walk forward in joy and hope, as companions on the road of him, whom you raised from the dead, Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord forever. Amen.