A young man loves to witness for Christ. He always carries copies of the Bible with him and gives to the people whom he encounters and talks to them about the importance of being saved. One day when he is passing through a small village, he meets an old man who is the owner of a small antique shop. He greets the old man:
"Hello Sir! How is your business today? Is it pretty good?"
The old man answers, "I cannot complain, because I feel God always blesses me and giving me enough."
The young man reminds the old man, "Sir! Only to be saved should be considered as the most important and satisfied thing in life. Don't you know that?
The old man smiles and says, "Don't you think there is another thing that is much more important than to be saved?"
The young man asks, "If there is, I would like to know what is it?"
The old man replies, "That is to walk with the One who saves you!"
The two disciples are on the way to Emmaus with their heavy hearts. Jesus comes along walking with them. Knowing how sad they are, He asks, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" Luke describes, "They stopped, looking downcast." And they tell him everything that has happened to their Master. Just imagine when someone you really admire, and you have put a lot of hope and expectation in that person, and suddenly he or she just died or killed or murdered. It should be devastating. This is exactly how these two disciples are feeling. They truly believed that Jesus was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. they were hoping that He would be the one to redeem Israel. But unfortunately, the chief priests and rulers have put him to death. Some of the women have astounded us; they visited the tomb and found it empty." Obviously, they are sad, hurt, disappointed, and confused. Their hope and expectation have been crushed by the unfortunate death of their Master. The astounded news of the empty tomb and the report of having vision of the angel from the women do not help them at all. They are still hurt, sad and confused. They are in need of some comfort. They want someone to understand the heavy feelings in their hearts.
Jesus understands his disciples' needs of comfort and healings. He appears and walks with them as a very caring person. He is patiently and attentively listening to their story. He provides them some comfort by his presence and his explanation of the Scriptures. There seems to be some light of hope in their hearts. They have a burning feeling in their hearts as they listen to him. This is probably why they urge Jesus to stay with them. "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." And again, Jesus does not have a cold heart to leave them. He stays. And at the table, they see something familiar to them. Luke describes, "He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him."
The story of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus is the story of the first Eucharistic celebration after Jesus' resurrection. It has all the elements and the spirit of our Eucharistic celebration:
- The Community: The two disciples encounter Jesus on their journey. They welcome one another and they walk together. They form a community.
- The Liturgy of the Word: They listen to Jesus' explanation of the Scriptures and feel the burning in their hearts, a burning of love and hope.
- The Liturgy of the Eucharist: Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them. They recognized Him. He is present in their midst.
- Witnessing: They immediately set out and went back to Jerusalem with joy and peace proclaiming the good news to the others. And they continue to reflect on what they have experienced.
The two disciples on the way to Emmaus have supported each other and received comfort and healings because they walk together; they share their sorrow and hurt. Most importantly, they welcome Jesus as their companion. They listen to Jesus' words. They sit at the table with one another. This is what we are doing every Sunday. After a long week of works and struggle in the world. We get together to celebrate the Eucharist. Especially when we have to face something difficult and challenging in life. As Christian peoples, we care for one another. We look after one another's needs. We share one another's sorrow and hurt. No matter how difficult the situation is; we walk together with one another and with Jesus. We listen to the words of God, and we sit together at the table of the Eucharist. And we keep in mind what St. Peter says in the second reading, "Conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, not with perishable things like silver or gold but by the precious blood of Christ."
I received a thank you note from a young mother in our parish who had a miscarriage. We had a service for her baby in the Monday evening Mass in the chapel. She wrote, "Dear Father John Kha: "Thank you so very much for the wonderful service you performed at 7 PM mass last night. I can't tell you how much Steve and I (and my parents) were moved by your words. I also know that our baby Shannon was looking down from heaven enjoying it too! So many other people that were present came up to us after the Mass to say what a lovely service it was and to offer their sympathies. They truly represent St. John Vianney Parish. Again, I just want you to know how "healed" we are after having the Mass to remember baby Shannon.
Thank you so much! Steve and Jenny.
It is always a blessing and we are always grateful when we are in need of comfort and someone is there for us.