|Road to Emmaus, Duccio di Buoninsegna|
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It was there that the two disciples, downtrodden and sad, began to have their hearts lifted when this "Stranger" begins to open up for them the history of salvation through the Scriptures, ultimately revealing Himself in the Breaking of the Bread. "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
For we who are Paulines, our Emmaus experiences are always deepest when we are probing the WORD and making our Visit to the LORD! Like the two disciples, there often are times in our lives that we likely think the LORD has left us, abandoned us to our own devices or to figure it all out on our own. But that can’t be! It can’t be that HE would undergo His Passion & Crucifixion for us and then leave us to find our own way home. It is rather that He is with us now until the end of the age … where He and the Father and the Holy Spirit dwell in blessedness!
So, how is it that we might begin to make sense of our situations? How is it that we can "see Him" two millennium later? We do it just like those first two disciples—in opening up the Scripture and “in the Breaking of the Bread!” When we bring our troubles and concerns to Him in our Eucharistic Visit, it is as if He sits beside us in that quiet moment of Adoration, speaking, pointing, reassuring, affirming that “I AM with you!” as He opens up for us the Scriptures in our daily Lectio Divina.
|Road to Emmaus, unknown, Nat. Library of Wales|
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In resting with this Gospel passage in my meditation, having heard it several times during the celebrations of the Mass this weekend, I continually dwelt upon the words “and they were downcast.” It became noticeable to me more and more that the more they (and we) "look down" too much or turn into ourselves too much in grief, sadness, worry, or fear, the more we turn away from the "Other" or from the very One who can turn our darkness into Light. Our "turning in" is really a turning away that is a reliance too much on ourselves or on our own resolve, which is never sufficient. Instead, we should quickly turn to the One who give us strength, wisdom, and the perseverance necessary to carry our burden when it is necessary to do so. He grants us the grace to "set out at once" to return to the "Jerusalem" of our home, our work places, the very situations we abandoned because by ourselves it seemed too much to handle, too much to endure.
Let us begin again our Easter walk with the LORD, recommitted to "seeing" Him in our midst and listening to Him speak to us in His Word each day. In this way we might not only "see" Him in the Eucharist, but take Him in our heart to those around us who are still "looking downcast," so that they too can join us in the forever Easter proclamation that “the Lord has truly been raised!”
Fr. Ed Riley was ordained to the priesthood in May 2000 for the Archdiocese of Boston. He was assigned to three different parishes in the Archdiocese from 2000-2010, when he was appointed to the Faculty of Saint John's Seminary, Boston, where he is Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation. He is also the Spiritual Director & Liaison in the Archdiocese to Homeschooling Families as well as the Spiritual Director for the World Apostolate of Fatima (Boston Division). Two years ago, he made his First Profession in the Pauline Family Institute of Jesus the Priest.