“Christ is Risen! - Truly, He is Risen!” This Paschal greeting that we are so accustomed to hearing on Easter morning represents the overwhelming joy and excitement we have longed for since the beginning of our Lenten Journey. When we began this journey back on Ash Wednesday, a minister marked the sign of the cross on our forehead with ashes. As we received this symbol of Christ’s suffering, they spoke one of two phrases: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” In either case, the words were calling every one of us to repentance, faith, and humility. From that moment, we embarked on a spiritual journey as we prepared for the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ through the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
From Ash Wednesday to today, Easter Wednesday, we have experienced many things throughout these last 49 days. We have experienced the feeling of success or failure regarding our Lenten practices. When Good Friday arrived, we experienced the low of Holy Week when Jesus was crucified and died on the cross but also experienced the resounding joy of his Resurrection on Easter. “Christ is Risen! – Truly, He is Risen!” Indeed, he has risen, and he will remain a presence in our lives in one way or another.
Today’s Gospel reading from Luke (Lk 24:13-35) teaches us an essential lesson about maintaining hope during the most desperate or challenging times. The story about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is not just another engaging story in the Gospel, but a parable in action. This story reassured us that Jesus would remain present in our lives just as he was with the disciples. But for Jesus to stay in our lives, we must not lose hope by thinking that his suffering and death were all for nothing.
When Jesus appeared to his two disciples on the road to Emmaus, they were feeling distraught and downcast because of the recent events that had taken place. They could not recognize that their teacher was walking alongside them because they had lost hope. They told him, “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” It was not until they heard him proclaim the Scriptures and break the bread that their eyes were opened, and a flame in their hearts was reignited.
The Road to Emmaus story serves as a guide for us throughout our long journey. A journey filled with doubts, afflictions, and sometimes even bitter disillusionment. Jesus will continue to be our companion throughout our pilgrimage on earth if we continue to seek him through the Scriptures and the breaking of bread at Holy Mass. This encounter shows that the light of the Word is followed by the light that emerges from the Bread of Life, through which Christ perfectly fulfills his promise that he would be with us always, until the end of time.
Br. Peter Augustine Hoang, O.P. | Meet the Brothers in Formation HERE