|The Gospel writers offer us , in their Resurrection narratives, many vivid images of the events of the first Easter Sunday: the stone rolled away; the empty tomb; the Resurrection appearances to the women ,to Peter, and some other disciples. However, only Luke, continuing his portrayal of discipleship and mission as “a journey” , presents the encounter which two disciples had on The Road to Emmaus. This journey by Cleopas and his fellow disciple symbolises our spiritual and pilgrim journey to the Kingdom, accompanied and sustained by the Risen Lord.
Luke recounts the disciples walking toward Emmaus, forlorn and perplexed over what had happened to the Lord. Jesus draws near to them on their journey but, as in many of the post-resurrection appearances they do not recognize Him. The disciples continue their discussion of the events which had occurred during the days before, surprised that the stranger beside them seemed unaware of what had occurred. In His empathy and compassion, Jesus enters into their experience and listens. Then, He explains how the very events they were recounting to Him on the road fulfil the work of our Redemption “was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?” Starting with Moses and the prophets, he explains to them the passages of scripture that were about Him and were fulfilled in Him. As the day is nearly over and they did not want this wonderful experience to end, they invite him 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.”
There are many important lessons we can learn as Christians and Vincentians on the Road to Emmaus:- the joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium): “Were not our hearts burning within us while he opened the Scriptures to us?” ; our mission to evangelise (particularly the poor as Jesus emphasised in the synagogue at Nazareth); the fulfilment of the Emmanuel promise, that Jesus is with us always, accompanying us on our Journey. However, perhaps the most significant event for the two disciples was encountering the risen Jesus in the Eucharist and how this energised and enthused them to such an extent that, even though it was late evening, 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 the bread.
For us as Vincentians, we must realise that the Eucharist is the source and inspiration of our Vocation.. In the Eucharist we recognise and encounter the Risen Lord and motivated by love for Him we seek to find and serve Him in the person of the poor (for Pope Francis, the poor are the flesh of Christ”. Also, like the disciples on the road, our Vocation is revitalised and refreshed by and through the Eucharist. we are inspired to rush back to Jerusalem” and to our mission to serve and evangelise the poor.
“Father grant that communion with Christ, present in the Holy Eucharist, may impel us to love You by serving Him in our neighbour”