Third Sunday of Easter
The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus provides us with one of the longest stories about Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Its length alone would raise our suspicion as to its importance. The story echoes a frequent pattern within our lives; a disturbing occurrence, a period of disquiet and confusion, an integration of the event aided by greater insight. For the disciples, who no doubt had expectations of either a political revolution or at least a repositioning of themselves within a new social hierarchy (recall the question of who would be the greatest), the death of Jesus certainly would have created a change or perhaps the traumatic collapse of great plans. No doubt after the death of Jesus the apostles were left with the question of what to do next. The paralysis caused by tragedy and loss was reversed by the presence of Jesus, not only demonstrating that he had risen but recalling what he had taught in the past and encouragement to go out and act on this experience. The road to Emmaus recalls what philosophers note as the three activities of the soul: memory, intellect, and will. In the story of Christ walking with the apostles, we see the Risen Lord helping the disciples recall both the history of Israel and his own teachings in a way that makes sense. The Lord then, in turn, encourages them to go out and to witness to this revelation. The road walked upon by the disciples is our daily road as well. We all face trauma, tragedy, and the daily indignities life seems to toss at us with frequency. Like the apostles, we need to walk with Christ and his Church so that what happens to us can in turn be transformative and become a means for bringing people to that same Risen Lord.