Scripture: Lectionary # 263: Acts 3:1-10. Psalm 105:1-2,3-4, 6-7,8-9. Luke
One of the most beautiful narratives in the New Testament is the appearance
of Jesus after his resurrection to two of his disciples who are on the road
to Emmaus some seven miles from Jerusalem. We have the name of Clopas as
one of them and the other could easily have been his wife, Mary, who was at
the foot of the cross when Jesus died. Both are travelling away from the
holy city of Jerusalem when they are joined by a stranger who is Jesus.
They are unaware that it is he (his resurrected body?). He will persuade
them to return back to Jerusalem. We are united with them as we first go
toward Emmaus and then are called to the reality of the city of Jerusalem,
a symbol for both the Church and for the kingdom of God. When Jesus enters
our life we head toward Jerusalem.
Talking, listening, and dialoguing on the way back is how we are found to
be with Jesus. It is he who both breaks open the Scriptures for us and
then breaks the bread with us as we join the other disciples in Jerusalem.
Luke had begun with the holy city and is now ending his gospel with
Jerusalem, but will continue the theme of Jerusalem in the birthing of the
Church at Pentecost. We dare to ask questions of Jesus and he, in turn,
answers them through going through the sacred scriptures–the Torah, the
Prophets and the Writings (though the Writings are not mentioned af first).
Their hearts and our hearts start burning within us as we walk with him on
the way to Jerusalem. The scene naturally helps us recall the liturgy of
the word in our Eucharist. Jesus speaks with a vibrant living voice and is
not reading the scriptures to us. The Word of God brings his own words
meshed with the prophets, the law, and the psalms. We are nourished by the
word given by the Word of God, Jesus the Risen One. We, however, need more
than the words, we need the community of the disciples who are back in
Jerusalem and we need the food and drink they share.
Once gathered at table we see Jesus taking bread and breaking and blessing
it and giving it to us–it is He whom we receive in this breaking of the
bread. This nourishment is necessary after what we have heard on the way
back to Jerusalem. The eleven represent all of us and we experience with
them the presence of the Risen Christ in our midst. No need to go to Emmaus
anymore. Our homecoming to the new and holy Jerusalem has sanctified us
and prepared us to receive the one who is the Bread of Life. We are now in
communion with one another because of Jesus who has fed us with his word
and with the sacrament of the Eucharist. Has Luke given us an experience
of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Word? It depends on us whether we
head toward Emmaus or go with the wonderful stanger in our midst who
beckons us to return to Jerusalem. Alleluiah . Amen.