For the Journey

We turn to Luke’s Gospel for his unique resurrection story. Two of Jesus’ followers, who failed to see him in the breaking up of their personal hopes and failed to see him in the breaking up of his companions, will now recognize him “in the breaking of the bread.”

As a “companion,” or literally “with bread,” is how Jesus comes alongside these two dispirited disciples. Their heads are down and they see the earth without any hope for the new life they had sought in the teachings of Jesus. As a companion he joins their darkness and gently leads them through their reflections on
what has recently happened in Jerusalem. Their eyes are dimmer than their spirits, and they find it hard to believe what they saw happen and what they have heard about his resurrection. They didn’t see it happen, so for them, it didn’t really occur.

We watch and listen to their sharing in the rising of Jesus as their hearts burn within them while they listen to this mysterious companion. He is a collector, a finder, and he has risen to raise both those who seek for him and those who take the road back to Emmaus.

We find comfort and great joy in watching Jesus compassionately go out after those who have their hearts and hopes broken. It is so human to doubt and want to turn toward wherever our Emmaus hiding place may be. They freely turned to their own tombs burying their frustrated plans and fractured friendships. Our selfchosen tombs can be such comfortable resting places. These men are going back, and in meeting Jesus they will want not to go back, but to return.

We have been praying often these past weeks about our own tombs and hiding places. Their walls of fear, the locked doors of self-negativity and regret, have been abandoned, and yet we know their comforts and the easily found roads back to their ever-opened portals. It is very dark in our tombs and Jesus constantly invites us into the sunshine. The word consolation literally means “with the sunshine,” and conversely desolation
means “down out of the sunshine.”

The men we watch these days experience the warmth of the sun in their being invited out of their darkness. The eucharistic “bread-withing” remembers them and they want to rejoin their companions, who themselves have been called out.

We pray this week with the joys of having been found, having been called out into the sunshine. We also pray with the joy in the awareness that he will always be collecting his followers in the breaking up of their hearts and hopes. He has risen so that we might have confidence in his grace more than our fragile selves. Easter is forever.

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