The Four Gospels preach that the Lord Jesus Crucified is He Who is Alive from the dead. Jesus is Risen! In the Wednesday Octave Mass of Easter, as in today’s 3rd Sunday of Easter, the Gospel of the day gives us the Emmaus journey account of a man (Cleophas) and friend walking downcast from out of Jerusalem. The evangelist’s account of this walk describes how a fellow traveler on the road joins along with them and raises some conversation with them of how He thought that the prophet Jesus was truly an amazing fulfillment of all the Messianic hopes for a Hebrew to come and be a savior to people Israel and to the world. Cleophas and the other man look incredulous at the stranger at first, and blurt out: “Are you the only person who doesn’t know that Jesus was crucified and done with, just last Friday?!”
Then they the tell the stranger with them that Jesus had been the One upon whom they had trusted all their hopes to– but He and those dreams had been crucified. It doesn’t say what was said or happened next, but over the course of several miles, they are listening intently to their traveling addition. There are taking in His word. By the end of the story, they are welcoming the man to stay with them, which leads to them breaking bread with the man in a holy prayer/gathering.
These two actions–the journeying with a listening ear and heart—and the welcome spirit and breaking bread action–are what we do at every Mass. We do them in the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We listen to the Word of God, taking a Sunday walk with it, and then we break bread with God on High in Christ. The difference is that with us, compared to the gospel persons in today’s account, we know Jesus is alive–or at least we have been told that Jesus rose from the dead. They didn’t. Yet can we respond to our hearing God’s Word but letting our hearts burn with the Word, touch us, and have us desire it all the more? Will we also then call Jesus our Redeemer and the Spirit the burning desire in our hearts by His Word? Will we flashed recognition of Our Lord in the breaking of the Bread?
Can we be like Cleophas and the other person, all so touched by the Encounter with Jesus, so to become glad and to go seek others in the fold to share it with?