Christ walks with us

23 April 2023 3rd Sunday Easter Year A

Richard was consumed with grief and shock following his wife’s tragic death. Richard’s doctor suggested a trip to take his mind off his pain; however, the travel and change of scenery didn’t help.  Sadly, while hiking in a national park, Richard climbed a rocky outcrop with the thought of ending his pain. 


As Richard stood on a ledge, looking down at the valley below, he suddenly heard music. Looking around he saw a young boy playing a harmonica. Listening to the music, Richard was moved to tears. He later remarked, “I was completely depressed and overcome with grief, but the music was so pure, simple and unexpected, that it affected me deeply” Richard’s musical encounter helped him to realise how much beauty and goodness life still had to offer in spite of his loss.


Today, we hear about two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus. Like Richard, it’s the story of a world turned upside down. Everything known and familiar to the disciples had disappeared. Their few short years with Jesus ended suddenly on Good Friday. All their hopes and dreams were shattered by Jesus’ horrendous death on the cross. What a desolate and desperate scene as they turn their backs on the pain and devastation of Jerusalem. 


As they walk along in a state of utter confusion and uncertainty, Jesus walks beside them, yet somehow, he’s ‘hidden’ from their view. What Jesus does next, changes their lives forever! He breaks open the Scriptures for them and breaks bread with them. The disciples then ‘recognise’ Jesus. Not surprisingly, their hearts ‘burn’ at this encounter and they hurry back to proclaim this Good News to the Eleven.


It’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused by what life ‘throws’ at us. So often we’re unable to see beyond life’s challenges and difficulties. We tend to become fixated on the negatives and we see only the ‘crucifixions’ in our lives. When this happens, it’s easy to forget and become blind to, the many ‘resurrections’ which are part of our story.


Whether our own unique journey to Emmaus is painful, challenging, a balancing act or obstacle-free, the Risen Christ always walks beside us. Yes, he can be hidden from our eyes, but he is there; often in unexpected places and encounters, just as he was for the disciples and for Richard. If we’re able to recognise him, then our hearts too, will surely burn within us.


With that experience to urge us on, we’re then able as ‘Easter People’, to resolutely and confidently proclaim to our sisters and brothers and indeed to the whole world, the Good News of the Resurrection and its promise of new life for all. 


May we always be open to the amazing and creative ways that the Risen Christ breaks through to us and accompanies us, wherever the journey of life takes us.


David J Hore CSsR

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