Encountering the Risen Lord…

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4 April 2018

A few years back, someone pointed out to me that if we take a step back from the details of the story of the road to Emmaus, and look only at its simple outline, we see the pattern of the Mass!  Here we have a couple of ordinary followers of Jesus doing the best they can in the somewhat confusing circumstances of their life.  The Risen Lord comes to meet them, first breaking open the Scriptures for them, and then, at the table, He breaks the bread, at which point they finally recognise him…

What I love about this is the truth that it points to in our lives: that we too encounter the Risen Lord – at every Mass!

Going a bit deeper though, I’m always touched by the fact that just about every post-resurrection story is about an encounter between Jesus and someone who is not in a good place: Mary Magdalene is grieving and confused, the apostles are afraid, Thomas doubts…    

The pair on the road to Emmaus is no exception to this.  The kindest thing we can say about them is that they are deeply disappointed.  I think it would be fair even to say that they are somewhat depressed, definitely confused, and even tempted to despair, based on their own words to Jesus.

I love the sensitivity that Jesus displays in just walking with them, listening and allowing them to express their pain and frustration, before eventually helping them to understand and to recognise just who is walking with them. 

It reminds me that, for us too, the Risen Lord comes to meet us in the places in our lives where we are most broken and needing him most.  We may not recognise him as present in our lives except in the obvious “breaking of the bread” at Mass.  But, like Clopas and his friend on the journey to Emmaus, I suspect that when we look back with the eyes of faith, we will see that He was with us all along the journey!

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