By Sarah Damm
Out for a morning walk, you ponder all that is going on in your life. Your thoughts are filled with worry for your children, uncertainty about finances, and confusion over the direction of the world. Your pace quickens as your mind races through your cares and concerns.
As you walk, Jesus joins you. He asks, “What are you thinking about on your morning walk?”
Being an all-knowing God, He is aware of what is rummaging through your mind, so you wonder why He is asking. “Don’t you already know, Lord?”
He responds with a smile, “Tell me anyway.”
Today’s Gospel takes place on Easter Sunday and is another account of the Resurrection. It may be less familiar to us than other stories, such as Mary Magdalene’s encounter at the empty tomb. However, the Emmaus story offers us beautiful encouragement in four areas of our Catholic faith: Prayer, Confession, Scripture, and the Eucharist.
At the very beginning of the Emmaus story, “Jesus himself drew near …” (Luke 24:15). He asks the two disciples what is going on. He wants to know why they are so distressed.
The Lord wants us to come to Him with our thoughts, concerns, hopes, and dreams. He longs to be an intimate part of our lives, and that happens through prayer. He knows our heart, and He places our desires on our heart. And even though He already knows what we’re going to say, He wants us to come to Him anyway. By engaging in a regular dialogue with the Lord, we grow closer to Him. We hear His voice and discover His direction for our lives.
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
As the two disciples speak about everything that happened and the confusion that fills their hearts, Jesus listens patiently to them. His attentiveness invites them to be completely open and honest with Him.
This portion of today’s Gospel reminds me of the Sacrament of Confession.
Jesus meets these two disciples where they’re at, and He loves them with patience and kindness—even in their foolishness. In the Sacrament of Confession, Jesus meets us where we’re at, too. He patiently waits for us to open up to Him. He attentively listens to all that lays heavy on our hearts. And He responds with mercy and love.
After the two disciples pour their hearts out to Jesus, He gently reminds them of His purpose. “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (v. 26)
At this point in the Gospel reading, it is almost as if the two disciples left the play before the final scene, assuming they knew what was going to happen, only to be surprised by the real ending.
I can relate. I tend to worry about my children, my health, or how I’m going to get my to-do list done. Anxiety causes me to assume the worst.
How slow I am to remember the goodness of God! I have to actively remember all the times in the past when things turned out OK. I have to call to mind how God has taken care of my family and me. But when I stay close to His Word, it’s not so hard to remember. I also feel less anxious, and I can trust His plan much more confidently.
Jesus reminds the two disciples of the story of Salvation History and how they have witnessed the fulfillment of the Scriptures in Jesus’ suffering and death. He emphasizes the importance of remaining close to the Word of God. For it is in the Scriptures that we receive the history of God’s plan as well as a personal invitation to be part of it.
I am sure the two disciples feel much more hopeful, after Jesus reminds them of God’s divine plan for the Messiah. So much so that they want Jesus to stay with them awhile longer.
“And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” (v. 30)
Just days before the Emmaus story takes place, Jesus offers the very first Mass at the Last Supper. There, He says the blessing, breaks bread, and gives it to the disciples. Then, after His death and resurrection, Jesus appears to these two distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus and offers another Mass, so they can recognize Him as the Lord. At the moment of Consecration at Emmaus, the disciples understand why they want Him to stay, why their hearts burn within them … It is out of love for Him!
Jesus gives us a beautiful gift in the Emmaus story. He gives us an invitation to remain close to Him in prayer, Confession, Scripture, and the Eucharist. He longs for our hearts to burn within us out of love for Him, because His Sacred Heart is always burning with love for us.
Today, take your own Emmaus walk. What would you talk to Jesus about if He joined you?
About the Author:
Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mom to six children. She spends her days like many moms—running errands, helping with homework, and cooking meals. She writes at sarahdamm.com, and she is also a contributor with CatholicMom.com and New Evangelizers.