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Father Muench Says...

A walk on our road to Emmaus

April 7, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

The Emmaus story is my favorite Easter story. I am certain that you remember it. This is the story about two of Jesus’ disciples who encounter Jesus on that first Easter Sunday on the road to Emmaus. I like to think that they were a married couple.

The Emmaus story is about us – like so many Gospel stories. As we recognize that we often meet Jesus just as that couple did on the road to Emmaus, we will discover the new life that Jesus won for us each Easter. Today, I want to go with you along the road to Emmaus.

The Gospel story tells us that on the same day that the apostles discovered the empty tomb, two of his disciples were walking home to Emmaus from Jerusalem. We are told that they were discussing all that happened to Jesus during those last few days – his suffering and crucifixion. They indicated they had also heard that some others had found the tomb of Jesus empty.

As they walked along, Jesus drew near to them. They did not recognize that it was truly Jesus. Jesus strikes up a conversation with them. The couple speaks of their sadness at the sufferings and crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus, who they still did not recognize, reminds them, saying, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

Then Jesus interprets for them what the Scriptures say about him, going all the way back to Moses. Can you imagine this, being in a Scripture class led by Jesus Himself? How I would have been thrilled to have been there.
When they come to the village, the couple encourages Jesus to stay with them. They still don’t recognize him. Then, while Jesus was with them at table, he took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. At that moment, they recognized that this was truly Jesus. I believe that each time we participate in Mass, each time we receive Holy Communion, we should recognize the presence of Jesus.

The Emmaus story calls to mind all that we experience each time we gather to celebrate Mass. The first part of the story is a Liturgy of the Word – we listen to the Word of the Lord – the Sacred Scriptures. Jesus truly speaks to is and teaches us, just as he did on that road to Emmaus with his two disciples.

Then at the altar during Mass we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, just as this couple joined with Jesus at table. In faith, we celebrate the Blessed Eucharist, recalling the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus. We believe that our Lord, the Risen Savior, is truly present with us each and every time we pray the Mass.

The Emmaus story is our story. I believe that all too often our Lord Jesus comes along and catches up with me as I walk through life. Jesus truly wants to be part of my life. I believe he wants to walk with me. I believe he wants to guide me. I believe that he has a message for me. I believe that he has a challenge for me to make my life better, to make my world a better place. I pray that I will truly recognize Jesus when he comes walking along to have a conversation with me. I pray that you will recognize Jesus when he enters your life today. I pray that you will often walk along that road to Emmaus.

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