What touches me deeply in the apparitions of the Risen Lord is the gentleness of Jesus and his simple manners with his disciples. After all, I would expect the Risen Lord to show his majesty and to expect reverence and fear from them. But he calls them “Children”, for the first time. And he adds, “Have you caught anything to eat?” (John 21:5) and then he invites them for a beach breakfast. He has a fire going and fish roasting! Imagine God serving you your breakfast!
He allows Thomas the doubter to put his fingers into his wounds in John 20:27. In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes as far as walking the wrong way with the two disciples of Emmaus. Indeed, they are walking away from Jerusalem, hopeless and sad. Jerusalem is the place of the Cross, the place where the apostles are locked in fear, in the upper room. But Jesus followed the disciples of Emmaus incognito and make them speak about their hopelessness. Very gently, without judging them, he explains the Scriptures that they never saw, or never knew what to make of them. And during that long walk, he reveals the pattern of the Paschal Mystery, from death to Resurrection. He accepted their invitation to stay with them and he celebrated the first Eucharist after the Last Supper.
Even now, today, Jesus is walking with us, incognito or invisible. We don’t recognize him, because we, too, walk the wrong way, the wrong spiritual path. The wrong path is the path of selfishness, self-seeking, fear, false securities. The right path is the way of love, of suffering love. When, out of love, we accept to serve, to deny ourselves, then we begin to recognize Christ.
With Christ, read your life through the Scriptures, and read the Scriptures through your life. And go to the Eucharist, which is the Sacrament of suffering love (self-giving) of the Son of God. “Take and eat, this is my body for you” and then you will know the way. You will know how to live. With the disciples of Emmaus, you will run back to the upper room, hearts burning with love. And there, meet the reborn Church.
God bless you,
“The Bible is not so much the story of man in search of God but the story of God searching for man.” (Bishop Robert Barron)