No Need to be Afraid or Sad Anymore
Our Gospel today takes us back to the 1st Sunday of Easter when Jesus, immediately after his resurrection, first appeared to the women at the tomb and moved on to catch up with two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus. The disciples were leaving Jerusalem probably because they were heartbroken to see their beloved Jesus crucified and afraid for their own lives and future.
Jesus’s heart is after his disciples who were hurting the most. He finds them on the way, and somehow, he keeps their eyes from recognizing him and starts a conversation, and acts like he does not know what had happened in Jerusalem in the past three days. This catches them by surprise, The Gospel says they stopped looking downcast when they started telling Jesus about their hopes and dreams of this wonderful man of God, named Jesus the Nazarene, to set them free from Roman domination. Interesting that talking to Jesus at the worst times can be uplifting; that’s what praying does. In this encounter, Jesus reveals himself to his disciples in two ways; first, from the scriptures, showing them that their promised Messiah indeed was Jesus the Nazarene, who must suffer, die and rise again. The Gospel says their hearts burned within them, in the sense of missing him a desiring to see him one more time, much like when we remember a departed loved one. Arriving at Emmaus, the two almost beg their newfound friend to stay with them that evening, so Jesus at dinner, breaking bread, allows them to see and recognize that he is the crucified Jesus, the Nazorean now alive and well. Then immediately vanish from their sight. Why did he do that? To teach and remind all that on Holy Thursday, he had given his disciples the Eucharist, and after his resurrection, he had his first Mass with the two of his hurting disciples at Emmaus. From that time on, it was not necessary if he was seen physically or not because he is always present in his word and especially in the Eucharist throughout the world when two or more are gathered in his name. To live by faith and not by sight alone. The two were set free from fear and sadness. Overjoyed, nourished, and strengthened, they returned to Jerusalem at night, proclaiming Jesus was alive.
My friends, we need not be sad or afraid of anything today. Our future is secure in our risen Lord Jesus Christ. He is our place of refuge. He opens our spiritual eyes of faith and nourishes and strengthens us with his word and Eucharist, just as he did at Emmaus. He has given us the power and freedom no one can take away to say no to the deceptions of sin and death. The Holy Spirit gives us the light and love of God to take to a hurting world the Gospel of hope and the promise of eternal life in our resurrected bodies in the Kingdom of God, proclaiming that Jesus Christ is alive and well; he is with us now and forever. Amen Alleluia.