– Fr. Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications Macau
The story of the disciples of Emmaus is one of the most beautiful pages of the Gospels. The situation of desperation of the Emmaus disciples, resembles that of the communities of Luke. They are persecuted, victims of abuse. They see the triumph of the works of death; the wicked have the better over the pure in heart. They find themselves in the same state of mind as the disciples of Emmaus. They also stop with sad faces.
We too find ourselves sometimes in the same state of mind. It happens when we have to admit that cunning prevails over honesty; when we are forced to acknowledge a lie as the official truth, imposed by those in power; when we see the prophets silenced or killed. We stop, sad. How to get out of this desperate situation? The Emmaus disciples made mistaken responses to the crisis. Many Christians were behaving as such in the time of Luke: in front of difficulties and persecutions, some abandoned their communities; others, almost on principle, refused the answers that came from faith. They did not even verify if they could have logic and sense.
But, how could one not notice that Jesus journeys with them: “When he was at table with them, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” Isn’t this explicitly recalls for us the celebration of the Eucharist? He often strengthened the disciples’ faith with the word of God “and beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them in all the Scriptures…” [v. 27]) and his good sermon. This has led the disciples to declare: “Were not our hearts burning within us when he opened to us the Scriptures…” [v. 32]). It is our story too, as we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.
The Emmaus disciples did not have the slightest doubt that their ideas about the triumphant messiah could be wrong. They were stubbornly clinging to tradition, to what they had been taught. They were impervious to the surprises and novelties of God.
Jesus does not abandon the people who choose the roads that lead to sadness. He becomes their companion in the journey.