First Reading: Acts 2:14.22-33; Psalm: 16. R. v. 11a; Second Reading: 1Pt 1:17-21; Gospel: Lk 24:13-35
TAKING THE EMMAUS WALK
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
The death of Jesus dealt a huge blow to the hopes and aspirations of many of his disciples. It is a likely thing to feel disenchanted when our only hope to reach a desired dream suddenly collapses. This is the peak of life’s crises. And this was the background upon which the Emmaus journey began.
The Emmaus journey was a journey in crisis and disillusionment. The two disciples of Jesus were disappointed on how the life of Jesus ended abruptly. They journeyed aimlessly in confusion seeking no answers to their faith crises but found answers. It was a journey that started in confusion but ended in enlightenment. This faith discovery of these two disciples on their way to Emmaus reveals that in our moments of crisis Jesus is there to guide and direct us if only we discussed our issues with him. And these issues are not only faith related.
Pope Benedict XVI in his Regina Caeli message at St Peter’s square on the 6th of April 2008 recounted, “The fact that archaeologists have not identified the location of Emmaus with any certainty, holds for me a certain value: It suggests that Emmaus is really everywhere, the road that leads there is the path of every Christian, indeed, every human being.” This statement by the late Pope evinces that the journey to Emmaus is a journey of discovery in all parts of life; since our Emmaus is anywhere and everywhere.
Just as the story surrounding the life of Jesus puzzled these two disciples; the uniqueness of people and the experiences surrounding them cannot completely be comprehended at any given time. At different points in time, we progress to different stages of life and meet different people unique in their different ways. From our homes, we progress to school, meet friends, establish a love life, get a job and then build a family. This chain of progress comes with different experiences from different people especially with the misunderstandings replete in them. But in each of these experiences God is gradually leading us into the knowledge of ourselves and the knowledge of him.
In our homes for instances, the sacrament of Christian marriage already implies the irremovable presence of Christ in the life of couples since it is Christ who unites them to become one. But is it not surprising that the same Christian marriage contracted in Christ experiences disagreement, rancour, infidelity, and divorce today? The truth remains that the human factor will always play out in living and understanding God’s divine gift to us.
Couples always wonder in utter amazement what happened to their marriages. We started so well. She was pretty and lovely. And he was handsome and caring. The beginning was beautiful. We both had beautiful expectations and hoped for an exciting future. The wedding was one of a kind. It was nostalgic, promising and eventful. But gradually things began to change as the years go by and the man/woman I once married became a shadow of him/herself. Before my very eyes I watched everything we held dear wilt like a flower starved of water and nutrients. I still can’t explain what really happened.
There may be several factors that might have contributed to this decline and disappointment. But we can look at one major factor – communication. The Emmaus walk did not start and end with the disappointment and crisis felt by these two disciples. But they talked about these disappointments and crises. They did not keep it to themselves. And it was while they talked about it that Jesus came along and joined them. And after listening, counselled them on their ignorance and misunderstandings. Many marital issues that have destroyed homes today would have been resolved if couples communicated timely and accordingly. When couples discuss their challenges and misunderstandings, God gradually guides them to knowledge, understanding and self awareness.
Couples and those in relationships should learn to take the Emmaus walk. They should learn to talk about their initial plans and expectations and how things suddenly went wrong. They should learn to talk about their disappointments, grievances, pains, worries, displeasures and some deviations that are counterproductive to their set goals and marital vows. The more they do this in an understanding manner, and the more they listen to each other, they allow God to guide them into an intimate knowledge of one another and love for Him.
Every human being is gregarious by nature and by that should also learn to take the Emmaus walk to build a good relationship and understanding with people. Although not everyone is open to hearing people talk about their personality and where they need to grow up. But those who are open to this growth process will definitely keep good and healthier relationships than those who do not. Taking the Emmaus walk is cooperating with God whose nature is not synonymous to confusion and disunity. So we can imagine what it means to rebuff this exercise.
The Emmaus walk is not complete if it does not end with the breaking of bread. When we participate in the Eucharistic meal, we bond with God who comes into us to open our eyes and mind to see the things we have failed to see before and accept the gift of faith we received in the Eucharist. Then, we can now begin to listen better, know better, understand better, and love better. So as we receive the Eucharist today at this Mass, we pray that the Lord would open our eyes that we may discover our ignorance and foolishness and choose to follow his lead as he guides us into an intimate knowledge of ourselves and of him. Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, open our hearts and minds to grow in the knowledge of you and of one another so that we may create a world where your love will reign supreme. Amen