Today we hear about the journey of two disciples to Emmaus. We can relate to the this l story very much by now. In a way the disciples of Jesus were on lockdown after jesus's crucifixion. The locked the doors of the upperroom out of fears for the Jewish authorities. Most of them stayed behind these closed doors. They were afraid!
Just like them we are on locked up most of the time because of Covid 19. Sometimes we have to go out for a quick errand or maybe travel to another town. The same with the two disciples we hear about today. They were maybe tired of being locked up and decided to travel to Emmaus, a town 7 miles from Jerusalem. Let's say from Fulton to Kingdom City. The Emmaus story teaches us what an impact an encounter with the living Christ can mean for our lives. In General it means also the impact that the encounter with a stranger can have on our lives, if we are willing to open ourselves up. A stranger or outsider can shine a different light on our seemingly hopeless situation. In the case of the Emmaus disciples it has a double impact. Their isolation was broken and there is a new light shining even in the midst of darkness. It seems that a stranger comes and walk with Cleopas and the other disciples. They did not recognize him. Maybe because they never met Jesus in person, maybe because it was prevented by God in order to let them understand the lesson.
He asks a to the question stupid question. As my mom would say when I was a
kid : “your asking about the known way". But he is a careful listener as well. They are astonished and ask if he does no about the events in Jerusalem. I would be the same if someone would walk with us and ask us what is bothering us. Things that are bothering us and our community. Which pandemic are you talking about? Well everyone knows about the pandemic. So if someone would inquire us about it we would be surprised wouldn't we? The disciples are even getting some frustrated. They though Jesus was the one that would bring an end to the injustice in the world. Does God even care about us? We though he did but he must not. That is completely logically reaction when you are in grief. We might also think that God abandoned us in this crisis. But don't worry God is not upset by our fears and doubt.
In these moments Jesus is there to encourage us and comfort us. When we are grieving we cannot think logically or clearly. In a way we have some kind of tunnel vision. We cannot see “the light at the end of the tunnel”, symbolically spoken. Our hopes and dreams are shattered and gone. Or maybe we ignore our pain and flee to other things to ease our pain. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to get through to us. Sometimes we are in shock and need someone that offers us a fresh perspective.
Jesus comes to Cleopas and the other disciple to turn their perspectives again to Gods promises. And he does so by revealing the scriptures to them. And still they did not know who this man was!
Often Jesus appears in our lives and we don’t notice his presence either. The encounter with the Lord will always reveal Gods promises to us, whether we get it or we don’t
The Emmaus story is story that comforts and encourages us as well. The message that God showed his saving power throughout history and he will show it again, if we trust in him.He kept his people safe from the famines and plagues in Egypt, He parte the Red Sea and brought the Israelites to the promised land, He raised Jesus from the dead. We have a magnificent God and do we still think this Corona crisis is too much for that mighty God to overcome? Nothing is too much for Him to overcome! He will show his power even in the light of suffering, pain and death. He will raise our hopes and dreams and lets his light shine in the midst of darkness…if we only trust in Him! We should trust in Him only and not "human princes" like the psalms says.
The road to Emmaus symbolizes our way through life. And it is not always an easy road, sometimes there are bumps in the road. Jesus, as the good counselor he is, he asks the right questions and than offers a new perspective upon our troubles. Jesus will lead us if we stay close to him and are willing to listen to his guidance. In the first reading we hear exactly how to do that. We need to return to the Lord with all our heart. We need to repent, which means admit that we were wrong. Admit that we cannot do it all by ourselves. Then we will be “baptized in Christ”, as St. Paul tells us. That means that we Let Christ himself teach us through his word and through his presence. He might come as a stranger to reveal the scriptures to us but we have to be submerged within his word.
Then we will be forgiven of our shortcomings and doubts. This means that a new start is offered and all the old is past. Then we will receive the Holy Spirit. This means that Christ walks with us on our path through life. We will recognize him when he breaks the bread. We can feel his presence and we hear him talking to us. All we need to do is listen to his voice and direct our steps through life. And if we fail….we can the four steps over again. Just remember the his disciples were not perfect. They were fearful and weak at times, just like us but they were persistent in following Christ. They are a great example for us. So let us go into the world and proclaim the Gospel of Love and Peace to all creation, even when we are weak. And we will also encounter the Risen Lord and recognize him in the breaking of the bread. Amen.