by Fr. Tommy Lane
We have all travelled the road to Emmaus. In one way or another at some time we have all had our hopes dashed. We are the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Christ joined us on the road and opened up the Scriptures to us so that we could see our cross or our dashed hopes taken up in the plan of God. We asked Christ to spend the evening with us and then we recognized him in the breaking of bread. Now we too say, “The Lord has truly been raised” (Luke 24:34). We know Christ is present with us. Christ is not just present but transforms us, renews us, recreates us just as he restored hope and joy once again in the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Paschal Candle lighting here reminds us that this happened once again this past weekend when we experienced Christ in a special way during the Easter Vigil. We see the dashed hopes of the disciples on the road to Emmaus in the five grains of incense on the candle representing the five wounds of Christ. But around those five grains of incense we also see that Christ is the alpha and omega, the first and last. Suffering and dashed hopes and crosses are not the last word. The resurrection of Christ has the last word, omega. The light on the top of the candle, the light of Christ brightening our lives, is that last word of Christ.
What a difference the presence of Christ made in the lives of those two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Before meeting Christ on the road they were going away from Jerusalem, their eyes were downcast, they had been hoping for the redemption of Israel, they stopped their journey because day was almost over. But after meeting Christ they returned to Jerusalem which they had just left, their eyes were no longer downcast but opened, instead of dashed hopes for the redemption of Israel their hearts burned within them, and even though they had stopped the journey when nightfall approached they now set out at once to return to Jerusalem. That is the difference that the presence of Christ makes. That is the difference the presence of Christ makes in our lives when we focus on Christ instead of on the negative and the difficulties.
We encounter Christ every time we celebrate the Eucharist just as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Scriptures are proclaimed and explained in the light of Christ. Our eyes are opened to a new way of looking at reality by the Word of God. We recognize Christ in the breaking of bread, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This does not mean that Christ is not present in other ways because in the first reading (Acts 3:1-10) we see Christ also present in the ministry of his apostles. The Real Presence means Christ is present in the fullest sense in the Eucharist, substantially present, in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. That explains why Verbum Domini 55 reminds us that we honor the Sacred Scriptures and the Eucharist with the same reverence though not with the same worship.
We have all travelled the road to Emmaus at some time as we had our hopes dashed. But what a difference the presence of Christ makes in our lives. Our eyes are opened to a new way of looking at reality by the Word of God. We recognize the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Christ is not just present but transforms us, renews us, recreates us just as he restored hope and joy once again in the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013
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