Grace to you!
On the way to Emmaus were two victims of fear and anxiety, Cleopas and the other disciple whose name was not given in the bible. They must have been in shock and despair, skeptical about the news they heard of the risen Lord. Their journey to Emmaus happened the same day after some women broke the news that they found an empty tomb. Recall that the apostles and others (disciples) dismissed the news, thinking it was nonsense or “women gossip” (Luke 24:11).
Not fully recovered from the disappointment that the one they had expected to be the Messiah may have been an impostor for allowing himself to be crucified – the Messiah could not be killed, they had thought. The two on the way to Emmaus felt that all that “pious baloney” must end. The enthusiasm about the Messiah in the person of Jesus had petered out. Thus, off they went to Emmaus.
On the way to Emmaus, they could not but engage with their worse fears, namely, the events surrounding the death of Jesus and the seeming false alarm about his resurrection. The scene is a prototype of the despair gripping many people in life. Many are individuals who have devastated hopes.
The weapon of despair is that it brandishes the image of the empty tomb as “nonsense” and would not allow its victim to see the reason why the tomb is empty. It grips the victim with unfounded fear and like a pit dog feasting on its prey, would not let go. It tries to create another world of its own, and with a touch of mimicry projects its world as real. Its imposing impersonation is so loud and daring so much so it takes the likes of David to surmount its Goliath stance.
Despair is a demon against holiness, the life of virtue and the life of faith. It is a strong obstacle to grace and opportunities.
The two on the way to Emmaus have been lured into the living room of despair and they would not be let out save by the help of the Prince of Hope who is the silent listener to every conversation. Just like the fourth man who came into the burning furnace to reassure Ananias, Azariah and Mizael of divine support in the Book of Daniel, chapter three; a third person must come in to help the despairing sojourner. Thus, a third party had to come in to clear the doubts, refresh the mind and gladden the heart. The risen Lord joined the two on the way to Emmaus, and in a silent way listened to their frustrations.
Jesus listened with an utter sense of pity for the two people who, like the other disciples, were of little faith.
Along the road to Emmaus, Jesus spoke the Word to the despairing Cleopas and his companion. They felt a fire within their soul. The fire is the power of God, which dissolves fear, doubt, weaknesses and sin; and inspires people to faith. “Faith,” the scripture says “comes by hearing” and without the message, nothing could be heard (see Romans 10:17-18). But this knowledge of God and the power with it is insufficient to recognize the owner of the Word though he may be, like a silent quest, in our midst. Full recognition of the Risen Lord goes beyond the Word to the Breaking of Bread, the Eucharist.
Praying for a renewed love for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament—the Eucharist.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.