for Sunday, May 8, 2011
Today we have the Gospel which speaks about the disciples going to Emmaus.
This Gospel speaks so much to our everyday experience of Jesus Christ.
These disciples knew that Jesus had been crucified. They also knew the
rumors that somehow He was alive. They were confused about what they
believed or did not believe, but their hearts were clearly still hoping
that He was the One to redeem Israel. Probably they still had in mind a
Redeemer who would free them from the yoke of Roman domination. They did
not yet clearly understand what kind of redemption the Redeemer was
bringing. It is incredible that Jesus begins with Moses and the Prophets
In this encounter, they do not immediately recognize that it is the
Redeemer speaking to them. Clearly they begin to understand that this
stranger explains the Scriptures in a way that shows how Jesus fulfilled
them. The passage is really strong! It says that Jesus explained to them,
beginning with Moses and all of the Prophets, every passage in all of the
Scriptures that referred to Himself. Clearly this was a long walk!
Nevertheless, it was a walk that opened their understanding so that when
Jesus breaks bread later, they recognize Him as the Lord.
What about us? Do we understand every passage in the Scriptures that
refers to Jesus? Do we really understand Jesus as the fulfillment of a
historical tradition of prophets talking about the coming of a Redeemer?
Lots of people in Jesus time did not feel or sense any need of a Redeemer
and were not looking for One. Yet there was a whole Jewish tradition of a
Redeemer who was to come.
What about us? Do we need a Redeemer? Does our world need a Redeemer?
Jesus was clear during the time before His death and Resurrection that He
did not come for the righteous but for sinners, those who needed a
The Acts of the Apostles in today's first reading points out that Jesus
fulfills the Scriptures but that the majority of those who believed in the
Scriptures at that time did not accept Him as the Redeemer. Today lots of
people have great admiration for the Christian Scriptures, but only as one
holy book among many holy books of many religions. Our belief is that the
Jewish and Christian Scriptures are privileged writing reflecting the Word
of God in a way not found anywhere else.
The First Letter of Peter tells us today that we are redeemed from our
futile conduct only with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless
unblemished lamb. There is no other Redemption. Jesus is not just another
good man, in another religious tradition, passing on good holy writings.
Jesus is the unique Son of God who has chosen to die for us so that we may
live. Jesus Himself is raised from the dead as the first to be raised but
also as a witness to God's love for all of us.
Let us continue this walk to Emmaus and meet the Lord on the way. Each
day we are walking. Each day the Lord speaks to us. Do we recognize Him?
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: