Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
It would be difficult to choose which of the "appearance" stories is my personal favorite. These stories are some of the richest in detail and in historical tradition. However, I have to admit that Emmaus story captures my imagination each time that Wednesday of Easter week rolls around. Perhaps that is because it pictures the two disciples, most probably a man and wife, as corporate personalities that represent a large portion of those who had come to be Jesus' disciples. St. Luke masterfully weaves the story with details that depict a community in deep despair over the news that they have received, not to mention their utter disappointment in what had happened to Jesus just a few days previous.
They were on their way home to a community that lay to the east of Jerusalem. Their journey would have taken them into gathering gloom as the sun began to set. While on their way, they are met by a man who seems to be oblivious to the events of the past few days. As they tell their story, we can almost hear the despair that has gripped their hearts. Then Jesus begins to speak; and though the sun is setting in and darkness is falling, their hearts are flooded with light. Their faith is restored through the Word of God and through the breaking of the bread, a clear reference to the Eucharist.
St. Luke is, in fact, summarizing his entire Gospel. First, faith comes through hearing. Second, that faith is nourished by the Bread of Life.
Disappointments are a part of life. No one gets through life without them. Sometimes those disappointments seem to suck the life right out of us. The answer to life's disappointments is found in listening to God's word and in staying close to the Lord in our sacramental life. Some may think that this is overly simplistic. However, the history of our forebears teaches us the truth of this simple plan.