Deep thoughts. I am grateful that in preparation for my final examinations, my current struggle is almost over, and that is, before a new one soon begins. After all, life is filled with many inevitable sufferings, some worse than the previous ones. But the centre of it all is Jesus Who is with us, even when we think that He isn’t. I know that by trusting and having the faith to move forward with Him, He will show me another way even when I feel that there is none.
The gospel reading opens with “That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”
He asked them,”What are you discussing as you walk along?”They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,”Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”They said to him,”The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.”
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:13-35).”
Probably feeling the need to find purpose in life, the disciples set out on the road to Emmaus, in need of clarity and peace of mind. At this moment while talking among themselves, they encountered Jesus as a stranger. This is so because they did not recognize Him. Sometimes, our discouragement and failures get the better of us and we are unable to see the hope that Jesus carries in search for us who are lost and weary as we stumble through the night.
Jesus also spoke to the disciples in making them understand that He needed to die on the cross so as to redeem us from sin. He made people realise the gravity of sin and that through the resurrection, we are to hold on to the hope that we can be saved. Without Jesus, we become lost and empty, but we must know that He is always near by our side.
The disciples asked Jesus to stay with them for the night as daylight was almost over and it was only at the breaking of bread, that the disciples had the sudden realization and familiarity that this stranger was indeed Jesus. Are we able to see Jesus in our lives? It could be from our family, friends, religious and even strangers. For Jesus asks us to open our hearts and minds, and then we will see Him.
Then, the disciples are shown the breaking of bread with a deeper significance in our lives. When the priest celebrates mass, do we acknowledge that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that He is the only one who is our Saviour, protector and friend?
Amidst the priest transfers to the parishes, we too pray that each transfer is not a matter of personal comfort as change is inevitable. However, the question is: can we give the newly transferred priest in each parish, our fullest support and encouragement?
Yes, they might be new or have their own way, but we too must guide them and take time to know them. They too are anxious and probably might be overwhelmed in a new environment. Do we give them the chance to serve us as we welcome them just like how the disciples rejoice when they saw Jesus? Priests are not perfect and neither are we. By supporting each other, they would be more settled down and have the renewed passion to know everyone better each day if we give them a chance, a listening ear and our hospitality.
We continue to pray for our communities and the newly transferred priests in the diocese that they may continue to be of service to their new parish and that their parishioners give them the support that they need to allay their fears and worries. Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us.Amen!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong