WEDNESDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER (Acts 3: 1-10;Ps 105: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9; Lk24: 13-35) Can we say these same words which the two disciples did on EasterSunday as they reflected on their experience of the RisenLord Jesus and His sharing the Word and His breaking the bread? Today’s First Readings takes place soon after the Pentecost experience of the coming of the Holy Spirit. As Peter and John walk through the temple area, they see a beggar sitting by the side of their path. Peter attracts the crippled man’s attention.
The invalid is hoping for a big financial donation. Peter remarks that he and John have neither silver nor gold, but what they have is a relationship with Jesus, the Risen Lord. In Jesus’ name, they impart healing upon the man. The man receives something more valuable than money, he received new life in the name of Jesus. He jumps around and praises God for his healing. Thus, the Good News is being proclaimed by the followers of Jesus, and Jesus is present in their ministry.
The Gospel account relates the story of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus (“warm springs”). They are saddened by the events of the last few days. They had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah, and now He has been crucified and is dead, or so they think. They were not even joyful when they heard the news that some women followers of Jesus had reportedly seen a vision of angels telling them that their Lord is alive. Their hopes had not been lifted since they had not yet experienced the Risen Lord themselves.
As they journey along, they are meet by a Man Who does not share their sadness. They start to talk to the Man about what has happened over the course of the last few days. They relate to Jesus’ crucifixion. Their traveling “Companion” begins to share with them the Hebrew scriptures which spoke about the Suffering ServantWho would have to experience pain in order to bring about glory. The two disciples start getting excited as they hear how the Word of God had spoken of the suffering of the Messiah. They begin to have hope again. As they near Emmaus, they invite the Stranger and new “Companion” to come and share more with them.
As they sit at the table, the Stranger blesses the bread with a prayer of praise and then he breaks the bread. The disciples’ eyes are open and they recognize the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread. As the Lord Jesus disappears, the two disciples run back the seven miles to Jerusalem to tell the other followers of Jesus that they, too, have experienced the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread.
The events parallel our liturgical services with the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It reminds me that we can come to have a burning in our hearts as we hear the Good News of Jesus. The more we listen and study the Word, the more we understand the ministry of Jesus and that Jesus’ mission and ministry had to include His suffering, death, and resurrection. It also says to me that we can come into a closer relationship with Jesus and realize His presence with us as we break the bread and remember, celebrate, and believe that the Risen Lord is with us. We truly have Jesus as our “Companion” a word which literally means “someone with whom we share bread.” And after we have once again been feed with the Word and from the table of the Lord Jesus, we need to go out and share the Lord’s presence with others, announcing that we, too, have experienced the Risen Lord.
Every time we come together in the name of the Risen Lord and hear the Word proclaimed and break bread, we experience Jesus’ presence with us. It is then we can reach out to others and give them a gift, not of gold or silver, but of healing in the name of the Lord Jesus. The healing we extend may not be as dramatic as the cure of the crippled man in the First Reading. It may be as simple as our smiling at them, which brings joy to them. We also need to realize that it is not ourselves who perform any “cure” which may take place. We are there to “care for” others and let them experience the presence of the Lord Jesus Who is the One Who cures. Great things can and will happen if we continue to stay focused on the Risen Lord revealing Himself in Word and the breaking of bread. We will be able to reach out to others because Jesus is our “Companion.”