Wednesday Octave of Easter - Roads To Emmaus, Galilee, Jerusalem

Scripture Readings For Today's Mass are here

Robert Zünd, 1877
Robert Zünd, 1877  Wikipedia)

Click here for my 2012 reflection which also has intra- links to 2011 and 2010 reflections on the Gospel of The Road to Emmaus. 

"Frederick Buechner, interprets Emmaus as "the place we go to in order to escape—a bar, a movie, wherever it is we throw up our hands and say, “Let the whole damned thing go hang. It makes no difference anyway.”…Emmaus may be buying a new suit or a new car or smoking more cigarettes than you really want, or reading a second-rate novel or even writing one. Emmaus may be going to church on Sunday.

 Emmaus is whatever we do or wherever we go to make ourselves forget that the world holds nothing sacred: that even the wisest and bravest and loveliest decay and die; that even the noblest ideas that humanity has had—ideas about love and freedom and justice—have always in time been twisted out of shape by humanity for selfish ends."

"Franciscan priest Richard Rohr says it best. He writes, “We are always looking
 to the next moment to be more perfect. We’re a people always rushing into the future because we’re not experiencing a wholeness in the present. Yet, this moment is as perfect as it can be. 

When we haven’t grasped the present, we always live under the illusion—and it is an illusion—that the next moment is going to be better: when I get around this corner, when I see this church, when I get to Jerusalem, when I get to the hotel, whatever it might be. Everything we do is for the sake of something else, a means toward some nebulous end.”Rohr goes on to say, “…if you can’t find Jesus in your hometown, you probably aren’t going to find him in Jerusalem. Pilgrimage has achieved its purpose when we can see God in our everyday and ordinary lives.” That seeing God in the moment, that is the act of recognition that we learn on the road to Emmaus.

The supper at Emmaus
Roy de Maistre (1894-1968)
Image source

Ultimately, the two disciples did recognize Jesus as he broke bread with them at the evening meal. Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them. The four verbs are Jesus’ signature, which the disciples likely remember from the feeding of the five thousand and the last supper. The meal at Emmaus does not mean that Jesus was formally celebrating the Eucharist. It does mean that every meal has the potential of being an event in which hospitality and table fellowship can become sacred occasions—sacred acts of recognition of Christ’s presence among us. 

It is meaningful that Christ’s own chosen ritual of recognition involves the familiar elements of daily life – the bread that sustains us is also the bread that blesses us. So it follows that often, it is at the daily table, (and at this table) that we recognize Christ in ourselves and in each other."


I suppose I agree with Rohr but in Monday's Gospel from Matthew, Jesus instructs the women to tell the disciples to go to Galilee where He will meet them, so it's worth exploring that further here too.
Claudio Pastro Source
Maybe it's a variation on a theme of what our life journeys are about :-  a constant search for and encounter with Christ .. sometimes it may be a meandering stroll, or a fearful running away from, at others a muddled and bewildered going out and coming back, and often we are in a huddled hideaway, fearing that all is lost, hoping against hope that something good will come out of what we see as a total disaster.

According to this article, a modern day pilgrim heading for Emmaus might find themselves in a quandary as to which exact place to go to, but as this article concludes : "Perhaps the elusive nature of Emmaus offers its own lesson — that what happened on that day is more important than where it happened, and that encounters with the risen Christ are not confined to one time or place."

 by Janet Brooks Gerloff  Source

Is God playing with us ? Back and forth we go !! 

It doesn't really matter whether it's to Emmaus or Galilee, or from Jerusalem and back again ...what matters is whether we constantly rely on Christ as our guide and companion on whatever road we happen to find ourselves on.

The evangelists give different accounts of Jesus meeting the disciples in different places at different times. Click here to understand why that shouldn't be seen as a problem.

This extract below from the article "You Will Find Him In Galilee"does help explain the symbolic value of Galilee and why Jesus recognised the importance of it in the immediate aftermath of His death and resurrection

It shows me that Jesus understands and empathises with acute sensitivity what the human condition and human grief are all about. In this period after Easter and between Pentecost two thousand years later, we too have to reevaluate where Jesus is asking us to go and what He wants us to do.

The final act that enabled the disciples to overcome their fears was Pentecost when they received the Holy Spirit. 
They had to wait and so do we. There's a lot we have to talk about in the meantime !! 
We have a new Pope and much to learn, discern and much to discuss.

 Here's the extract :- 

"He is going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will see Him." These words, I would suggest, hold the key to what Mark is trying to tell us about the resurrection. Galilee is not simply a geographical location.

 It is a recalling, an anamnesis, a bringing into the present all they had experienced with Jesus and a calling to follow Him and take up the radical reform and ministry He had begun.

It was in Galilee that Jesus began His preaching, teaching and healing. It was in Galilee that He had called his disciples. It was in Galilee that Mary, Mary and Salome had themselves become disciples and from which they had followed all the way to the cross and now to the tomb. It was in Galilee that Jesus was baptized by John and there that He began to live into the messianic prophecies of the Old Covenant, preaching the Good News to the poor.

 In Galilee water was made wine, a withered hand restored, a blind man's sight returned, demons driven out and the lame leaped. It was in Galilee that the foundation was laid and the movement built for Jesus' attack on the corruption of the Temple priesthood and there that He called Israel to a law of love surpassing love of the law. 

In other words, Jesus will not let us waste time looking for Him in a tomb, but leads the way into Galilee, into a new day, into a new world, into a radical new discipleship. 

To go to Galilee is to meet the risen Jesus in the faces of those in want. To go to Galilee is to meet the risen Jesus in the faces of those who suffer in spirit or body or those who are cast out or cast down. To go to Galilee is to live into obedience as He did and for which He died and rose again.

At the end of every Mass, after we have been inspired by God's word and refreshed with the risen body and blood of our Lord at His table, it is the deacon's job to kick us out lest we be tempted to turn even this church into a tomb.

 It is the deacon's duty, like that of the young man in the tomb, to send us forth into the world, on to Galilee, strong in the peace of God, to love our Lord and neighbor and to serve wherever there is need, remembering, 

"He is going ahead to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you."

Related reflections
                                               "Why Galilee?"-  A reflection here

The “Road to Emmaus” Icon by Sister Marie Paul OSB
of the Mount of Olives Monastery, Jerusalem (1990

There are numerous artworks of the Emmaus Road story, but the unusual image above shows one of the Emmaus disciples as female. There is excellent scriptural and traditional evidence for identifying the unnamed disciple as a woman. 
The man is named as Clopas or Cleopas (Luke 24:18). Elsewhere, a woman named Mary (often called "the other Mary" to distinguish her from Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene) is named as the wife of Cleopas (John 19:25). 
In Mark, this Mary is identified as the mother of the Apostle, James the Less and Joses (Mark 15:40). 

So it is not odd to depict the most likely companion for Cleopas on the Road to Emmaus as his wife Mary, who had also been a witness to the Crucifixion and to the empty tomb (Mark 16:1)
English: Momo (NO), oratory of the Holy Trinit...
English: Momo (NO), oratory of the Holy Trinity, Emmaus, Resurrection appearances of Jesus, Giovanni and Francesco Cagnola (?), end of XV century - beginning of XVI century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Meeting, by Lelio Orsi, 1560-65
The Meeting, by Lelio Orsi, 1560-65 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Diego Velázquez, 1620, New York
Diego Velázquez, 1620, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Christ at Emmaus by Rembrandt, 1648, Louvre.
Christ at Emmaus by Rembrandt, 1648, Louvre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Caravaggio, ''Supper at Emmaus, 1606.
Caravaggio, ''Supper at Emmaus, 1606. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Road to Emmaus appearance, based on Luke 2...
The Road to Emmaus appearance, based on Luke 24:13-32, painted by Joseph von Führich, 1830. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Supper at Emmaus, 1601. Oil on canvas, . Natio...
Supper at Emmaus, 1601. Oil on canvas, . National Gallery, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Supper at Emmaus
Supper at Emmaus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Titian, 1535, Louvre
Titian, 1535, Louvre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jesus and the two disciples On the Road to Emm...
Jesus and the two disciples On the Road to Emmaus, by Duccio, 1308-1311, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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