It is the evening of that first day of the week. Two disciples are walking to Emmaus, a town that lies east of Jerusalem. They are, therefore, quite literally walking into the darkness.
They meet a stranger along the way and enter into a conversation with him. He seems to be oblivious of what has happened in Jerusalem over the past three days. The one upon whom these two disciples had placed their hopes had been crucified. Now that the Sabbath is over, fantastic news had begun to spread that Jesus of Nazareth had been seen by the disciples. That news was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. They decided to go home. The darkness of the setting sun was complemented by the dark shadows that possessed their souls.
Over a evening meal, Jesus lifts the darkness from their souls by how the Scriptures had been fulfilled in the death of the carpenter from Nazareth. All at once the disciples recognized Jesus. The shadow that possessed them had been dispelled; now they ran westward into the setting sun. Arriving in the upper room, they told their story.
Throughout his Gospel, St. Luke has been illustrating the fact that faith comes through hearing. The story of Emmaus reinforces that point. Cleopas and the other disciple, in all probability his wife Mary mentioned by St. John as one of the women who stood at the foot of the cross, had their faith restored by listening to Jesus who also fed them with the Bread of Life.
Discouragement is part of all our lives. Today's Gospel teaches us a valuable lesson. Turn to the Word of God in times of darkness. Turn to the Word of God who is the Light of the World which dispels all darkness.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator