One of my favourite Gospel readings during the Easter Season is to be found in St Luke Chapter 24 which relates the story of the Disciples on the road to Emmaus. On reading that story I imagine that I am at the scene and that, I too, encounter Jesus.
I imagine that there are two men walking ahead of me and they are talking very excitedly giving the impression that they are agitated.
I follow at a distance and eves-drop on their conversation. They are sharing about Jesus and how badly he was treated and eventually crucified. They had been in His company for several years and expected a great future as His companions. Now it has all ended in failure for them and they are running away. I hear them say to each other “we have no place in Jerusalem anymore; the man we trusted is dead; what an end for him and for us when we had great hopes of making a better life for ourselves. By association with him we are wanted people”.
I could hear them talking about the silly women who made up exaggerated stories about seeing an angel at the tomb and that the stone was rolled away. They also commented that Mary Magdalen was one of the women and wondered why anyone would believe her.
As they hasten along the road a tall man joins the two disciples and he must be a complete stranger as he knows nothing about the recent tragedies. Suddenly, the stranger looks at me and invites me to join him and to keep instep as we listen to the news being re-laid by the two runaway disciples.
Immediately I recognise that this tall man is indeed Jesus because he is explaining the scriptures. I listen carefully as he explains that the Messiah had to suffer all these things before returning to the Father. As Jesus continues to talk the two disciples get very excited and have a complete change of heart realizing that Mary Magdalen and the other women were indeed telling the truth.
The big question is where is Peter in all of this, following his cowardly act of denial when Jesus was arrested.
Suddenly I feel Jesus looking at me asking me to tell him a little about my life. I feel Him listening respectfully as I tell Him about my joys , struggles and fears . Jesus sits down on the road to make it easier for me to keep talking.
Now I have the confidence sitting beside Him to tell Him my name and about the family I grew up in and the challenges I have overcome in my life etc. I find it so easy to talk to Jesus as he reaches out to tell me it is all right to be who I am and that He is always ready to listen and that He will never judge me. He assured me that He is at every corner of the road guiding me along. He tells me that He saw me from the Cross and carried my pain that day. He tells me that He is now Risen and that I must never run away no matter how difficult my circumstances might be.
I feel a great peace in my heart and all the struggles have gone like a shot. I feel a new courage and strength to stay right beside Jesus who has overcome suffering and death . I feel Jesus smiling at me as He says “well done and never give up and remember when you hear the priest saying at mass ‘take this all of you’ I am talking personally to you and calling you by name”.
Suddenly it is getting dark and the two disciples who have now become very strong invited me and the strange man (Jesus) to eat with them. I feel safe and excited as I sit at a simple table and watch Jesus take the bread and bless it and pass it around. The two disciples call out in amazement “Master surely you are the son of God?”, Jesus gently smiles and gets up from the table and as he does so He looks around and says, “don’t forget my promise; I am always there for you”. The two disciples are so full of courage that they forget their fear and rush out the door to go back to Jerusalem to tell everyone the good news.
I remain very still and take time to thank Jesus for the conversation and for spending time with me following His Resurrection and giving me the opportunity to confide in Him about the joys and sorrows of my life.
CHRIST HAS DIED; CHRIST IS RISEN; CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN
Sr Assumpta Walsh 18/4/2022