The road to Emmaus

| Father Charles Lachowitzer | May 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

On the road to Emmaus, Jesus did Bible study. He interpreted for those two travelers all the Scriptures, beginning with Moses, which revealed who he is. Yet they did not recognize the risen Christ until their eyes were opened to the real presence of Jesus in the breaking of bread.

It is not known whether the two disciples invited Jesus to stay in their home, or they went to an inn to resume their travels in the light of day. It is known that inviting Jesus to stay with us is to invite the living Christ into our very homes.

Father Charles Lachowitzer

Father Charles Lachowitzer

Whether the road be less traveled or a crowded freeway, the way home is an ordinary, daily routine. Whether by school bus or alone in traffic, we become quite used to going home. For those with a GPS in their vehicle or on their phone, wherever we are, even lost, we are told how to get home.

The road to Emmaus is different. It is the aisle to the altar. In the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the home to which we invite Jesus is none other than our very hearts. Like the open doors to a tabernacle, the fundamental disposition of the heart to the reception of holy Communion is an ardent plea for Jesus to stay with us.

How odd that the Creator of the universe does not enter our hearts without an invitation. God does not just barge in like a landlord collecting rent. God knocks. And when we invite Jesus into our hearts as our most welcome friend, the expected banquet of hospitality is nothing more than simple bread and ordinary wine. The guest becomes the host and shares with us the person and real presence of God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.

In this unprecedented time of restricted movement and limited social interactions, our earthly home has become our shelter. We did not go to our homes in the usual way. We were put in them, told to stay home.

This extraordinary disruption to ordinary life has already produced horror stories and heroes. This is an all-too human reality through every war, whether against a known enemy or an anonymous virus. To the world, the faithful are deprived of the ability to gather with over 1 billion sisters and brothers in the Catholic Church. The celebration of the Eucharist is the height of worship, the source of the fullness of grace! It is a personal encounter with Jesus. At every Mass, we open the doors to our hearts, and the Savior himself steps inside. Through the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, we become one bread, one body.

Our mortal flaw in an indifferent and often hostile world of nature, is all the broken ways we die. Organ failures and diseases. Accidents and natural disasters. One too many by the hands of others. One too many by their own hands. The shadows of death have always been and will always be, until the end of time, an ever-present gloom on the road to anywhere.

The inevitability of death, by some way or another, turns us to God in tears. Nonetheless, the eyes of faith look beyond death to the hope of eternal life. Just as in this life the road to Emmaus is the aisle to the altar, so too is it the road from this life to the next. There is no destination for those who do not know where they are going. Maps do not work if their users do not know where they are.

The road to Emmaus is a conscious and practiced choice to move forward through all that is wrong to all that is right. It matters not our earthly home or lack thereof. Being at home is different than going home. Through baptism and confirmation, we have already been given our identity and mission. We are already temples of the Holy Spirit with hearts burning for the love of Jesus. Already we have been given the bread of life and the chalice of our salvation. Already we have the fullness of truth through our Catholic tradition. Already we know and experience the love of Jesus Christ and the communion of the Holy Spirit. Wherever we are sheltered, God has already gifted us with more than enough blessings and sufficient grace to move through this chapter of separation and the sacrifice of community worship.

As we have been, so too are we now and will be until death. As disciples of Jesus Christ, sinners though we may be, we are members of his body, the Church. We know where we are going. As a pilgrim people, we are on the road to Emmaus. We travel to shelter in our eternal resting place where we will meet Jesus face to face. We travel to join in the greatest of all family reunions. Our destination is our heavenly dwelling place.

On the road to Emmaus, we are going home.

El camino a Emaús

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Category: Only Jesus