Presence

Have you had a dream that you hoped would come to fruition, not happen?  Have you been in a place where you have felt defeated?  Have you had that experience where something has left you feeling empty and to go back to what was “normal” is difficult because of the new normal of the loss?  If you have had any of these or similar experiences, then you have been on the road to Emmaus.

The disciples in today’s gospel from Luke are “downcast.”  Their dreams are dashed. They are “conversing,” trying to make sense out of what happened to Jesus in “these days.”  “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel” they say, to the stranger who sidles up alongside them to inquire about their conversation.   Jesus hears about how the women found the empty tomb and how others went to see it, “but they did not see him.”  The two disciples don’t believe any story of resurrection, because they have not “seen” Jesus, nor can they see him now, in their midst.  They are lost in their grief and despair.  Even when Jesus reveals how what happened to him connects to and fulfills the Scriptures, they still don’t “see” him.

Have you ever been so disconsolate that you cannot see the presence of God in your life, despite your longing for it?  What lead you out of that place?  How did you find your way back to God?  The Road to Emmaus is a story of a journey from not seeing the presence of God/Jesus to seeing.   Jesus leads them on a journey.  First he listens to the testimony the two disciples.  Then he explores scripture with them and finally breaks bread with them.  And it is in this act of breaking bread, that they come to “see” his presence.

For the Evangelist, Luke, what is important for knowing God includes; the testimony of the disciples, the Scriptures and the Eucharist.  The disciples’ ability to “see” Jesus in the breaking of the bread, happens as a result of their journey to the Table.  It is Luke’s way of saying that Jesus is truly and fully present in the Eucharist.

We believe it is in the Eucharist that we will find Christ’s redeeming, forgiving presence waiting for us to illuminate our ability to “see” His presence in each other and in our world.