Tag Archives: Emmaus

Forgiveness on the road to Emmaus

April 24, 2020

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It was late Easter Sunday afternoon. The sun was dipping in the western sky. The day was largely spent. It was time to call it quits and settle in for the evening.

Two disciples were ambling down the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, one named Cleopas, the other who goes nameless. Some think that his name was Simon or Simeon. Others say Ammaon or Luke. The names are guesses. We will never know.

Road to EmmausThese two disciples were dark sheep. It had been an ugly day. They were befuddled. They did not know where to go. They did not know what to do. They were on a road to nowhere, off course and lost. They made one bad decision after another, and they were in a heap of trouble.

Cleopas and his friend were not apostles, but they were close partners with them. It is likely that they were handpicked by Jesus, two of the seventy additional disciples that Jesus had appointed (see Lk 10:1). They stood out. They were tops among the seventy, friends to the twelve, and companions to Jesus. And they had history together. They heard Jesus speak. They watched Jesus perform miracles. They traveled with Jesus throughout Galilee, and then to Jerusalem.

True friends stay together, particularly when the going gets tough. Not Cleopas and his partner. When things were at their worst, with their Master Jesus dead and buried, a time that they should have pulled together and leaned on each other, they left. They went off by themselves. They abandoned the group, disloyal, undependable.

They were skeptics, doubters. Jesus had told them twice that he would rise on the third day (Lk 9:22; 18:33). The women that went to the tomb reported to them that Jesus had risen (Lk 24:10-11,22-24). They would not believe the women. Worse yet, they did not trust Jesus’ promise. It was too good to be true. It could not possibly have happened.

They were in despair. When Jesus called them, like the apostles they decided to leave family, friends, home, and job. They left everything to follow him (see Lk 5:11,28; 18:28). Yet after they had invested so much time and energy in this new venture, they decided it had been a dismal failure. It was a dream that never came true. Emmaus was home. It was time to go back to their families and pick up with their old jobs. Their disciple days were over.

They were headed west into the darkness, trapped in multiple sins, dark sheep, and lost. The risen Jesus did not punish them, but in his boundless mercy he appeared to them and walked with them. It is what the Good Shepherd does. When a sheep wanders off, Jesus goes in search of them (see Lk 15:4-6). Instead of withholding his grace, he explained the Scriptures and broke bread with them, and through his appearance forgave them, reunited them with the others, strengthened their faith, and enabled them to renew their commitment.

Likewise, when we are going in the wrong direction, the risen Jesus will never abandon us. He appears to us when we are down and out, oftentimes suddenly and unexpectedly, and in a veiled way that may be hard to recognize. His love is constant. His forgiveness is assured. Jesus wants to be united with every traveler on the road of life, particularly if we ever wander off course.

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Emmaus Prayer

April 13, 2018

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Road to EmmausLord, as we walk down the journey of life,
we ask that you would be our constant companion,
particularly on those days when we are disheartened
or when we have strayed off of your path.

When we are downcast,
we ask that you lift our spirits.
When we are confused,
we ask that you enlighten our minds.
When we are disappointed,
we ask that you give us hope.

You, Lord, have blessed us with your gospel.
Open our minds and hearts to receive your word,
and send your Holy Spirit to give us understanding.
May your teaching take root in our lives
and guide us in your ways.

While we have faith in you, Lord,
we also have our moments of doubt.
We ask that you would deepen our faith,
so that rededicated to you,
we would give bolder witness,
and freely and gladly give generous service.

You gently ask us to invite you into our hearts and homes.
With a spirit of welcome and humility,
we invite you to dwell with us always.
We offer our praise and thanks for the many ways that you feed us
and provide for our many needs.

Keep us closely connected to our brothers and sisters in faith.
Help us to see others with the eyes of love.
Fill us with your compassion.
May we work tirelessly to foster relationships in our community
built on the foundations of truth, mutual respect, cooperation, and trust.
Amen.

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