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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Homily Sunday 5-4-2014 Emmaus and Us

This story is the basis for the title of my blog where I post my homilies: Two Disciples on the Road. This story, often title “the road to Emmaus” or just “Emmaus,” is a masterpiece of literary and theological work thanks to Luke's ability to see the events of history in their wider context. While we could explore so much about “Emmaus,” I want to focus myself to three points which could really be three homilies.

The first two points are quick ones.
1- God is there whether we recognize Him or not. More often than not, we don't realize where God is in our lives, but we have to remember in faith that He never abandons us. How many of us remember our guardian angel? He's always with us to watch over us, this Church is full of them, but we often to fail to recognize it. Yet, they are still there. Have confidence that God never abandons you.

2- To have communion in the Church, we need to be going the right way. The reason the two disciples were going to Emmaus is not given, and the destination is today a kind of mystery, so we don't know if the town itself might have implied something to the Christians. But this is certain, they were heading away from the Christian community. Their faith was kind of shattered because Jesus wasn't the Messiah they had hoped for. By the end of the story, after Jesus sets them straight about the role of the Messiah, they turn around and head back. They stop, have a change of heart, and are re-incorporated in the body of the Church. This required a conversion because they were headed in the wrong direction, and it might mean the same for us in parts of our lives. What do we have to change in order to be in full communion with the Church?

3- Lastly, Emmaus is the Mass. Luke notices the connection between this story and the life of prayer of the early church, which we know well thanks to Justin Martyr's account. The Catechism, paragraph 1345 summarizes his outline of the Mass: On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers* for ourselves . . .and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: 'Amen.' When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the "eucharisted" bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent.

The same outline that we do today is alluded in the Emmaus story, where the Christians are met by Christ, discuss the scriptures, and then gather for a meal where Christ is revealed to be present among them, and they are sent as witnesses.
Perhaps most improtantly is the final part about the Eucharist. The “breaking of the bread” is the Eucharist; and the Eucharist is the meaning of life: Cross, Love. This is the same 'key' that Jesus shows the disciples on the road to help them unlock the meaning of the Old Testament. It is the key for us, too, at every Mass, when Calvary is presented to us, and the Risen Jesus feeds us.

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