The two companions walked along the seven mile road from the City of David called, Jerusalem. They were serious in their pensive mood as they walked along. They had witnessed the events surrounding the ministry and death of the Man from Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth.
Perhaps, it was the disciple, Cleopas, who walked that route with his wife.
Perhaps, we may see ourselves as the other “silent” witness that walked with Jesus on that day.
There was the blessed encounter with Jesus, and lives were changed forever.
The beauty of the story of the two walking on the road of Emmaus is one that has captivated my imagination for years. I never tire of hearing about it, because I gain a new insight every time I read it, or, hear it read.
The other evening, while at a meeting of our parish RCIA group the story was read three times. We listened and gleaned from the spoken words of St. Luke 24: 13-35. Suddenly, it dawned on me that we have within these words the “boundless treasure” that St.Leonard of Port Maurice had written and preached about in the 17th century.
For the first time I saw the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist drawn closely together as a whole, a composite reality that shows us Jesus Christ, the resurrected Christ.
The humor of God is interesting. It is a serious humor.
The two had probably been silently and mournfully walking along, their “faith” slightly on the wane, but, nonetheless, grasping onto the little “thread” that seemed to remain. Often, we are "crest fallen," but, we are not utterly cast down, for the Lord lifts our hearts and God is always there just when we need him the most.
It is hard for us to see this when we feel God does not come according to our schedules. Nevertheless, Jesus comes to us by the Spirit of God just when we need to hear from God.
Then, Cleopas and his companion had seen and heard in Jerusalem -- strange things.
Jesus approached and joined them, because there was a need for Him to do so. There is always a purpose when God joins with us in a conversation. Their conversation was about the things that had taken place around the ministry, the life and the death of Jesus. Now, there were new rumors by some women that had been with Jesus.
Jesus asked them what the talk was all about?
Cleopas must have been a little annoyed, because his response seems to say, “Where have you been?” “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know what’s taken place there in these days?” He did not know it was Jesus. How often do we not know it is Jesus, when Jesus walks with us and talks within our hearts?
Jesus’ answer is interesting -- “What things?” (Greek -- “Poia?”), or, a kind of indifferent, “What sort of things?” Well, that got to both of them and so the story rolled out of their hearts and mouths in a torrent, verses 19-24 non-stop.
How the Sacred Heart of Jesus must have ached to reveal Himself to them, as with all of us so slow to hear and experience the magnitude of His Grace.
Then, Jesus spoke --
“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?” He began with the prophets and Moses and the writings and described all the scriptures that spoke of Him.
What a revelation of Himself.
This was, as far as we understand, perhaps, the first post resurrection sermon (homily) of our Lord Jesus. He expounded to them, and us, all the scriptures of the Old Testament that spoke of Him. He began with “Moses and all the prophets.” Then, “all the scriptures” that referred to Him.
Whew, my beloved in Christ! What a homily! It was an earfull from the The Word of God.
Out of that Liturgy of the Word by the very Word of God, these two wanted more of Him, asking Him to stay with them at their home. Jesus, never in a hurry, stayed with them, entering into their home.
I have looked with great interest and admiration upon the homilies of the Holy Father, John Paul II in Cuba. They burn within my soul with a "passion" I sense from the Lord. These words of the Holy Father come to where the people of God are at, also offering reconciliation to the people who do not know God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, the Holy Father, as should all of us, seeks to "embody" our Lord as he proclaims Jesus and brings Jesus to all the people of Cuba in the presence of even President Fidel Castro and his government.
What remarkable events transpire when we see God's Spirit filling the Holy Father.
Yet, Jesus always seeks to eat with us, to sup with us, when he comes to knock at the doors of our hearts, seeking entry to bring into us the Body and the Blood of Life Jesus offered up for us.
The most wonderful thing that happened to Cleopas and his companion was at dinner.
The bread was laid before Jesus and everyone was ready for the bread, because the trip had been tiresome. Then, Jesus took the bread and broke it before them and gave it to them with a blessing. Then, and only then, did the Risen Jesus vanish out of their sight!
The wonderful thing is that they still held the BREAD in their hands.
Now, I ask you fellow reader, is that not -- Wonderful? He shall be called -- "Wonderful." The Bread vanished and the Bread remained in their hands. The High Priest Himself gave them the broken Bread and vanished, still there, but with the Bread of His Body in their hands with the Word of God burning in their hearts.
What a blessed picture of the Holy Sacramental -- Liturgical Reality of Jesus Christ!
Friends, when we come into contact with the Risen Jesus, something happens and we are no longer the same, and, neither were they the same! They recognized Him in the breaking of the Bread. The two of them then went and recounted to the disciples what had taken place on the way to their home on that Emmaus road and how it was made known in the breaking of the Bread.
Jesus is made know to all of us through the breaking of the Bread...
I remember today how I sensed this longing in my soul -- my innermost being, for this Bread and the Blood of Jesus! How this burned within me. How nothing else satisfied me, even though I walked as another sheep who followed Jesus and loved him, yet outside the fold of St. Peter...
He loves all of His sheep, my beloved in Christ.
What a wonderful application this has for you and me.
Yes, my beloved, it was Mary our Mother, who shared these words with the beloved physician, St. Luke. I know this, because it was Luke that mentioned the blessed Mother of God so many times. He provides for us her genealogy and the encounters so rich in meaning -- and she kept these things pondered all these things in her heart!
Cleopas and his companion also did some pondering in their hearts.
How our hearts need to ponder these things!
The hearing of the words of scripture provide for us the preparation of our hearts for the blessed Eucharist.
What a Treasure we have in that Eucharist and the liturgy of the Word.
What a Treasure we have in our earthen vessels as we partake this Treasure.
But, most importantly, what an important thing it is that you and I do not just hear and receive the Word and Eucharist for the Treasure to stop there, but, rather -- joyfully take it to those that need to partake of Him as well.
“Come, O thou divine food, and nourish my hungry soul. Come, furnace
of charity, and kindle me, flaming fire of love, inflame me by thy flames.”
-- St. Leonard.
Deus et Sanctissima.