May 8, 2011
Third Sunday of Easter
Luke 24: 13-35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.
Petition: Lord, may I always recognize and welcome your presence and your grace.
1. About Seven Miles from Jerusalem
It could have been seven miles from anywhere. The disciples weren’t in a synagogue, or the Temple, or in the holy city of Jerusalem. They weren’t in prayer or preaching. They weren’t anywhere in particular; they were just between two places. They were leaving behind what seemed to be a failed dream. Yet, precisely in that unexpected moment—when they most needed it—Christ himself begins to walk with them. Christ’s appearance is never a moment too late, nor does he ever come a moment too soon.
2. Stay with Us
Christ doesn’t impose himself upon these two disciples. He gives them the impression that he is traveling on, and he waits for them to extend the invitation to stay with them that evening. So it is with our lives and our hearts. Christ goes in only where he is invited and welcomed. He will come in—he very much wants to come in––, but he will only do so if we open the door.
3. Were Not Our Hearts Burning?
Only in hindsight can we begin to understand God’s timing and begin to unravel the meaning of his action in our lives. Only in looking back can we see why he gave us particular graces in the moments he did. What would have happened if we didn’t respond and hold onto that grace he offered? Take a moment to find God’s hand in the difficult moments of your life.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, your ways are beyond me. Your timing is a mystery to me. But I know that with my mind and heart open through prayer, you will be able to give me every grace I need, right when I need it most.
Resolution: I will not let a single grace pass by today without acting on it.
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