Today’s Gospel: John 20, 1-9 – Easter Sunday
I’m amused by the words that Luke chooses to announce that Jesus—who had been crucified and buried—suddenly joined two disciples on their journey. As Luke tells the story, the two were journeying to Emmaus, when, “it happened that … Jesus himself drew near and walked with them.” Excuse me, Luke, since when does it just happen that people who have died mosey on up to us? How about a “you’ll never believe what happened next …”? Or even a good, old-fashioned, biblical “behold”? The amazing victory of God’s mercy, love, and life seems to deserve a “behold” as it dawns on our lives. After all, the resurrection is not an everyday occurrence that just happens … or is it?
That perception of the resurrection as some extraordinary, uncommon, miraculous event is the very misperception that the Holy Spirit wants to dispel through Luke. The very understated “and it happened that” are some of the most important words in all the resurrection accounts. They drive home that it is a commonplace, everyday occurrence that our Risen Lord journeys with us. After all, Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead in large part to fulfill his promise to be with us all — always. Yet, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we often fail to see Jesus because we are not truly expecting him to knock on the doors of our lives.
These Easter days, Jesus continues to open the Scriptures and break the bread for us on the road of life. In doing so, Jesus desires to open our eyes and to transform our hopes and expectations, so that we see him drawing near and walking with us in our daily lives … in a friend’s caring shoulder, in a stranger’s unexpected kindness, in an acquaintance’s perfect timing, in our spouse’s faithful love, and in our child’s unpretentious joy. Then, we, like the first disciples, will be in awe at what just happens…
What are some of the ways that Jesus draws near me and walks with me in my life, especially ways in which I usually miss or overlook his loving, faithful presence with me?
Jesus, as you continue to open the Scriptures and break the bread for us this Easter day, may hope and expectation rise in our hearts, that we may see you on the way of our lives. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Fr. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C.
Fr. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., is a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. After working in parish and vocations ministry in the United States, he is currently the Director of Holy Cross’s International House of Formation in Santiago, Chile. He has also helped edit several books on Holy Cross spirituality through Ave Maria Press.