nobiscum, Domine!" Stay with us Lord!
The Word of God is different from other forms of
literature. Other books may inform the mind while scripture opens the "eyes of the
heart" (Eph 3:16-17). This is the Benedictine
tradition of Lectio Divina, reading "under the eye of God,"
reading "with" the eye of God, allowing God's word to penetrate
us, heal us, forgive us, love us and accomplish wholeness salvation in us. As you read the scriptures,
something may strike you -- a verse, a paragraph or a scene.
Return to it during the day. Treasure God's word in your heart. Like Mary
respond, "I am your servant. Be it done unto me according
to your word" (Luke 1:38).
Luke's gospel provides an
excellent opportunity for Lectio Divina, and of union with Christ
and Sacrament. It is an Easter story of two disciples who met the risen
Lord on the road to Emmaus. Let us join them as we meet the risen Jesus on
Let us picture ourselves
like the disciples of Emmaus walking along the road. Only one of them is
named in the story, "Cleopas." Perhaps the unnamed disciple is each one of us
on our own journey as the risen Jesus walks beside us. He said,
"Where two or three are gathered, there am I in your midst"
(Matthew 18:20). All of life is a series of Emmaus moments -- meeting the
broken stranger in the broken word, the broken bread,
and the broken world. But sometimes,
our eyes are blinded to that encounter.
OPEN YOUR BIBLE TO
THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
READ LUKE 24:13-16
Now that very day two of
them 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
Their eyes were
prevented from recognizing him (Lk 24:16).
We are all pilgrims trying to reach the same destination as we walk in the footsteps
of Christ. But even when we walk along together, we may not be on the same
pathway because no one's spiritual journey is exactly like any other. A Christian
should be a person
who walks toward the light, to a dawn that breaks forth, not
to a night that falls. But sometimes we may be walking in the wrong direction, away from Christ and
the path that leads from Jerusalem -- away from the cross, away from the
sunrise of Easter toward the nightfall of Emmaus.
The disciples of
Emmaus were walking in the wrong direction because they were discouraged
Though Jesus walked alongside them, they failed to recognize him because
their eyes, ears, minds and hearts were closed. Are there situations in
your life where it seem as if Jesus is totally absent and silent? Does it
seem that he has deserted you in your hour of need, and that you are alone in
your pain? At such moments, it may be Easter week for some, but for you it is still
When the disciples failed to
recognize Jesus, he did not say to them, "Open your eyes and see! I
am Jesus risen from the dead!" Rather, he entered into their experience,
asking "What are you talking about as you walk along?"
READ LUKE 24: 17-21
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
What are you discussing
as you go along your way?
listens to our stories. What is your story, your concerns, your disappoints,
your hopes that you can share with him? Perhaps it is a marriage failure, the loss of a
job, a disappointment from a friend, or the diagnosis
of a doctor. As we read the scriptures, our minds and hearts run back and forth between the
page and our human experience. We make connections between the
sacred word and our story: "This is my situation. It really is like
Jesus told his disciples:
"If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples. You shall
know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (Jn.8:31-32).
Were the disciples of Emmaus looking for a political liberator to set them
free? They utter
some of the saddest words in Scripture, "We had hoped that he would
have been the one to set Israel free" (v.21).
On another road, the road
that led toward Jerusalem, Jesus told his disciples: "If any want to
become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and
follow me" (Mark 8:34). The disciples of Emmaus did not want a suffering
Messiah, but if we follow God's plan, Jesus' way, it is the path of suffering that leads to glory. Paul had to come
to terms with the cross. He realized that for many it was a scandal, a
stumbling block, a disgrace or a curse. But for those who believe "it
is the power of God" (1 Cor.1:18-23). Unless we enter into the
mystery of Christ's death and resurrection, God's Word, will remain a closed and locked
book, and we will read with closed
minds and hearts. We will be like those who "look at the words but do
not perceive, who hear the words but do not understand" (Is 6:9).
READ LUKE 24:25-27
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 Messiah 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
Was it not necessary
that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into glory?
Jesus says that is
"necessary" that he suffer these things so as to enter
glory. We might ask, "Why should it be God's will for anyone to
suffer in order to be glorified? Is this the way God shows love for
us?" In moments of tragedy and
loss we are not satisfied with simple answers. At such times we are up
against the mystery of God who says: "For my thoughts are not your
thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD" (Isaiah
Jesus' dying and
rising challenges the notion that a broken body is a sign of God's
punishment and rejection. Jesus transforms it into a symbol of salvation.
God was not absent on the cross, nor at Auschwitz or at the World Trade Center. We only know and believe that
God, with his mysterious thoughts and ways, is good, loving and caring and
wills the best for us. If it is necessary that Jesus should suffer so as to
enter glory, might it not be necessary that we should walk a similar path?
It is the risen Christ who
opens the scriptures and unlocks our hearts. Slowly, the disciples began to understand, but something more was needed to fan that spark of hope into a
burning flame. It was late afternoon, and soon it would be dark. If Jesus
left the disciples now they would remain in the dark.
READ LUKE 24:28-29
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.
The disciples plead,
"Stay with us!" "Abide with us!" Jesus said that he is
the vine and we are the branches that we can not live apart from him,
"If you abide in me and I in you, you may ask what you will and it
will be done for you" (John 15:7). Jesus wants to abide in us. He
wants us to meet him in word, prayer and sacrament. He waits for our
invitation. "Here I am, standing at the door. If anyone hears me
calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with
him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).
READ LUKE 24:30-32
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?"
Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to
Recognition of Jesus
happens within the context of a sacred meal. In the "Breaking of the
Bread," their eyes were opened. The disciples had come to know Jesus
in the word, and now they recognize him at the table. With that Jesus
disappeared from their sight. The disciples no longer need Jesus' physical
presence. When our eyes of faith are opened we no longer have to depend on
our physical senses, like Thomas, wanting to see and touch. Jesus says,
"Blessed are you who have not seen, yet believe" (John
Jesus eternally abides in the church in his Sacred Word and Eucharistic
The Lord has risen indeed!
Has the Lord risen in your heart?
On fire with the Word of God and Christ's divine presence, Jesus' disciples
keep the good news to themselves. They joyfully proclaim the risen Lord to
all who will hear. The Christian message is never truly ours until it is
What is your response
to this story? Ask the Lord to set your heart on fire with love for Jesus
in Word and Sacrament. Pray in thanksgiving for his presence in your life.