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Reflection

 
We continue our celebration of Easter today by again hearing stories from the early church. We who have completed our Lenten journey of renewal, as well as those of us who are newly baptized, can together hear these stories and use them to deepen our own faith. As we celebrate together today, let us each resolve to take the Good News of Easter that we share with each other and spread it at home, at work, and in the world around us. 
 
 
“Lighting a fire in the heart”
 
By: Jose Antonio Pagola

 

Two of Jesus’ disciples are leaving Jerusalem. They walk along sadly and brokenhearted. The hope that they had placed in Jesus has been extinguished in their hearts when they saw him die on the cross. But they keep thinking about him anyway. They can’t forget him. Was it all a dream? While they go along talking and discussing all they’ve been through, Jesus comes by and starts walking with them. But the disciples don’t recognize him. The Jesus in whom they had trusted so much and whom they have loved passionately perhaps, now seems to be a stranger.

When Jesus joins in on their conversation the two walkers listen to him at first with surprise, but little by little something awakens in their hearts. They don’t know exactly what’s happening. Later on they will say: «Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures?».

The walkers feel drawn by Jesus’s words. The moment arrives when they need his company. They don’t want to let him leave: <<Stay with us>>. During the meal, they will have their eyes opened and will recognize him. This is the great message of the story: when we welcome Jesus as a companion on the journey, his words can awaken in us the hope we lost.

In recent years, many people have lost faith in Jesus. Little by little he has become someone strange and unknown to them. All that they know about him is what they can reconstruct in partial and fragmentary ways based on what they have heard from preachers and catechists. Yes, the Sunday homily fulfills a vital role, but it clearly is not enough. In its current usage, in face of people sitting quietly, not voicing their concerns and problems, it cannot regenerate the floundering faith of so many who seek to meet Jesus, sometime without even knowing that’s what they want.

Isn’t it time for us to develop, outside of the context of the Sunday Liturgy, a new and different space to listen together to Jesus’ Gospel? Why not get together “ laity and priests, women and men, convinced Christians and people interested in the faith “ to listen, share, dialogue and welcome Jesus’ Gospel? We need to give the Gospel the chance to enter into direct, immediate contact with the problems, crises, fears and hopes of people today, with all its transforming power. It may soon be too late to recover in our midst the original freshness of the Gospel. But today it’s still possible.

  

Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

​At Emmaus, the wayfarers recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread
 

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.

 

 

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Tim Staples

Former Assemblies of God
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