Christians have treasured the Easter story of two disciples meeting Jesus as they walked the few miles from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus. That trip and its events changed the despondent travelers’ lives. The last scene of breaking bread with Jesus deserves reflection by all who celebrate Eucharist in a Catholic or any other setting.
Jesus broke bread with the two disciples, their hopes and dreams,
untenable just moments before, became not only possible but
inevitable. Jesus, who embodied such promise, was not only alive, he
was with them, once again caring about and caring for them.
Jesus they had followed and come to know was a man of immense vistas.
He was not a theological test demanding humble assent, he was a man who
brought hope, who made hope conceivable by forgiving and reflecting the
Father’s forgiveness of their weakness and failings. In Jesus they had
discovered that the future was not determined by human limitations but
by God’s boundless love.
These disciples knew Jesus lived when
they ate bread with him. In the nurturing, sharing community of a meal
they recognized that their dreams and hopes hadn’t died on a Roman cross
three days before.
It wasn’t simply the awareness that Jesus
hadn’t succumbed to the evil of Rome’s self -centered ruthlessness and
Judea’s self-preserving fear. The one they had hoped would redeem
Israel and beyond hadn’t been driven from life. The gift of knowing
that renewed their courage and determination. It was that renewal
within themselves as much as the living presence of Jesus that filled
Easter isn’t a remembrance of something that
happened to someone else two millennia ago. Easter is a belief in life
and its future. Easter is courage and excitement for life grounded in
faith. Easter is the joyous assurance that God’s Future is alive and
growing in our world.