He Always Accompanies Us, Even When We Wander Away

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The gospel we hear today is the last part of the story of the two disciples who meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  They were going in the opposite direction of Galilee where the women who met Jesus told them to go.  They were very sad and depressed about the death of their Master who they thought was going to liberate them from the Romans and restore them as the ones in charge.  They had a strange idea of their Messiah, to say the least, and in many ways were just running back to their old way of life.

What is Jesus’ reaction?  He walks with them even as they go in the wrong direction.  He wants to be with them and helps them to speak about ‘the things’ that happened in Jerusalem those days.  He doesn’t reproach or correct them.  How profound is his reaction?  Jesus does the same with us when we go in the wrong direction, when we sin.  He accompanies us and shows us this way of love, of forgiveness, of life.

These disciples left him and his response is to love them.  Very gently Christ shows them and teaches them this way of love.  He makes no demands of them; he loves them even as they forget him.  After spending much of the day with them and explains to them the Scriptures, he reveals himself to them in the breaking of the bread.  Only at that moment do they recognize him.  Their eyes are opened as he celebrates the Eucharist with them.

Christ is with us also when we celebrate the Mass.  He is present when the priest breaks the Bread, the larger host, and says or the choir sings, “Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world…”  The bread is then the Body of Christ.  Our death is destroyed because he died for us so that we do not have to die.  And the wine is a symbol of his resurrection, a sign of heaven.  In every Eucharist, every Mass the passion of Christ and his resurrection is made present.

One of the responses of the people after the consecration says: when we eat this bread and drink this blood of Christ, we announce his death until he comes again.  This is done every day, in millions of churches or chapels, millions of times a day.  It also points to a time when it will not be done.  When will this happen?  When Jesus returns in his Second Coming.  It is pointing to the end times, which we don’t think about too much.

When we receive Christ worthily, we know that we have been forgiven and that we can walk the path of life, of a Christian.  He is always showing us how to walk as a Christian.  It is important to see how he loves us in two senses: one, in our history.  In all the different events of our life, which often we do not understand, he is loving us from the moment he created us.  We can see this especially in our sins, in the things that kill us, in our blindness and weaknesses; in all these events, he is loving us.  We can also see how he is loving us in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist and the Word of God, and in Reconciliation.  He is loving us, and showing us the path of life.

How marvelous you are, Lord, to open our eyes like you did to the apostles and disciples.  We fail to see you so often.  We don’t see him in our history or in the Mass.  We may not see him in the others, in our sufferings, in the kids or the boss or wherever.  He tells us that he loves us and that he gives us the power to love others as he loves us.  He wants us to forgive and not always correct, and to walk and accompany others, especially when they are lost, as he walked with us.  When we have his Spirit all of this will be easy.

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