The Road to Emmaus

Homily for Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

This morning our Gospel story is one of my favorites – the two disciples encountering the Lord while on their way to Emmaus. As they are walking along the road, the disciples are heartbroken. The hope that they once had in Jesus had been lost when He was nailed to the cross. Their future was uncertain. They had left everything behind to follow Jesus and were beginning to wonder why. Then a stranger began to walk alongside them. They had no clue who this gentleman was, yet they enjoyed listening to him and were amazed at his knowledge of the Scriptures. They invited him to have dinner with them and, when the stranger had broken the bread, they realized it was Jesus.

Within our own lives, there are times when our vision is clouded and we are unable to see how the Lord is working. Like these two disciples “we are prevented from seeing the living, abiding presence of the risen Christ beside us.” Maybe it occurs when a family member has been taken from us too soon because of an illness. Or when depression and anxiety have seemingly taken over our minds and we are unable to function. Maybe it’s being unable to overcome a particular sin. It’s at these moments when we feel completely helpless and we look to God and ask, “Lord, where are you? Why have you abandoned me and left me to fend for myself?”

And yet, our faith tells us that Christ never abandons us and leaves us to walk our journey alone. How many times has a friend called us or sent us a text message to check on us? How many cards have we received from friends and family when we have lost a loved one? How many people have invited us to share a meal with them when we have been trapped in feelings of loneliness and despair?

Like the disciples on the road walking with Christ, we don’t always recognize how the Lord is being made present to us until it smacks us in the face. At some point though, we realize that we are not alone, that He does care for us. He does love us. He is still with us.

The Risen Lord walks with each of us, every moment of every day. He never leaves us alone in our struggles and challenges. If we are weary and our labor seems useless, if our faith is weakened, we can’t give up. We have to turn to the Lord and ask Him to continue walking with us. He bore the Cross for us. May our hearts burn at the sound of His voice.

Painting: Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio in the National Gallery, London. Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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