Tom told about a recent incident when he was visiting his friend Bill who was down on his luck. While they were visiting outside suddenly three young men attempted to steal Bill's bicycle. Tom began to chase after the thieves; he realized that he didn't have a plan, but knew that he needed to get the bicycle back. To his surprise, the three men looked his way, dropped the bike and backed away. Tom mentioned how proud he felt and relieved. Then he picked up the bike and turned around. That's when he saw Jeff, another friend who was a college football lineman who had been trailing close behind as he chased after the thieves.
This story by Tom relates in some ways with the two disciples of Jesus on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. These two disciples were supporting and protecting each other. I think we can relate in many ways with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus; we can connect with them because of our present coronavirus pandemic and/or current stress-filled situation.
These two disciples were feeling discouraged, confused, depressed, grief-stricken, and as if they had been blindsided. Their minds were unable to understand or comprehend what had just taken place in Jerusalem. Then suddenly Jesus joins them as they were walking along the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were at first unable to recognize who this stranger was now became their companion and fellow sojourner. Soon their lives would be transformed as they experience the risen Jesus.
Jesus began to teach and explain the scripture passages from the prophets and [Old Testament] books that foretold what the Messiah would endure ... their hearts were burning or on fire as they slowly understood the Word of God. Then their eyes [hearts, minds and souls] were opened -- when they recognize Jesus in the blessing and breaking of the bread, they recognize Him in the breaking open of the scriptures, they see or behold Him in their very midst. Transformed by this experience of Jesus, risen from the dead, who appears to them. They rejoice that Christ is risen and alive.
Yes, He is alive. By His love and by His death Freedom dawns upon the earth and upon all humanity. This is the message Saint Peter wrote about in his First Letter that we read from in our Second Reading for today's Mass. Peter tells us what Jesus' death brought to us and to the world: freedom from sin, freedom to be God's beloved children, and freedom to enjoy LIFE now and forever.
Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus may we recognize Jesus today in our midst, see Him whenever we gather at Mass and in the breaking of the bread, hear Him speaking to us whenever the Word of God is broken open and spoken. Alleluia! Like these two disciples allow your heart and soul to be transformed by Christ Jesus. Rejoice with them in the revelation that Jesus is alive. Then go forth like them and share the good news: Christ is Risen! Miss you all and am praying for you, Father John Moser