The Gospel for April 30th, 2017: “The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus”
Reflection: Jesus is Near
“And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him” (15-16).
We are all on the road to Emmaus. We are all moving through life becoming distracted by the chaos our senses perceive, preventing us from recognizing our Savior is near. Our eyes, which are supposed to grant us vision, do not see what really matters because they are instruments of the temporal flesh. And so we draw the damaging conclusion that God is distant and choose sin in our despair.
This gospel reminds us that the victory and redemption of Christ’s resurrection is the truth and that he is indeed near if we trust our hearts instead of our eyes. He walks with us on life’s journey, on hand to provide all we need. Our faith and worship reveal His nearness.
Why doesn’t Jesus just grab us and shake us from our distraction? I think our free will ensures that we will choose to love Jesus and His creation–not out of forced duty, like slaves, but out of simple joy, like children. This can only be sensed through open and faithful hearts to the purely unselfish love of our Savior. We must choose to be conjoined with our God.
In a broken world this state does not come easily to us. However, the gospel tells us the one way the hold of our senses can be suppressed and our hearts warmed is by breaking bread with Jesus, as the disciples on the road to Emmaus do. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we recognize He is near all along. Note the disciples’ words after their meal with Jesus: “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (32). They were. The disciples just needed the internal presence of the Eucharist to mortify their other senses that were distracting them from the fire of Jesus’ love in their hearts.
And so it is with us. The mass is central to our relationship with Jesus, our Savior. Let us celebrate often and know He is near.