That then contrasts with the Gospel reading. Probably one of the most famous readings out there in all Christian circles, the road to Emmaus. Here we have two men who knew Jesus well. So well that it says they eventually recognized Him in the breaking of the bread. That means they were either at the last supper or that Jesus had at least dined with them in a special way many times in the past. Yet, even though they had spent intimate time with the Savior, here they are walking away from everything that they had learned. They have given up on Him and are heading back to their normal everyday lives. They aren't leaping with joy. they are going back to sit and beg at the entrance with a crippled body and mind as it were.
Saint Augustine put it this way:
They were so disturbed when they saw him hanging on the cross that they forgot his teaching, did not look for his resurrection, and failed to keep his promises in mind. Sermon 235.1
Then Jesus proceeds to equip them again. He opens the scriptures to them and tells them everything that points to Him out of them. He then proceeds to dine with them and that's when their eyes are opened. That's when they are healed. Then just like the crippled man at the gate they immediately jump up and run throughout the night back to tell everyone the good news. This wasn't like you or I walking down a dark alley in a big city. This was dangerous! Not only were their bandits, brigands, and thieves.. but there were lions and tigers and bears, oh my! They risked everything to bring the message back to the Apostles. They were changed by their encounter.
That's our challenge today, isn't it? Jesus on the road to Emmaus showed us the Mass. He broke open the Word as we do at the Liturgy of the Word. He broke the bread as we do at the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The question is... are we recognizing Him in the breaking of the bread? Then when we do, are we running out into the dangers of the world to share that with others? Are we leaping with joy? Or still walking as if we are weak of ankle and foot? He has given us everything we need to know Him. He gave us the Church. He sent the Holy Spirit to be her guide. He gave us the 7 Sacraments to encounter Him and be overflowed with His grace. The Church guided by the Spirit wrote and formed our Scriptures that we might be able to read and learn from them. Are we walking blindly away from the center of the world? Or are we running towards Him? Easter is a constant reminder of that... We must journey towards our own cross, our own self-giving, sacrificial love... because on the other side is our reward should we remain firm and run the race. Resurrection. But first, we gotta let God Himself teach us how to walk.
His servant and yours,
"He must increase, I must decrease."
A reflection on the readings for Wednesday of the Octave of Easter: April 19, 2017