At the end of every MDA Telethon, back in the day, we would hear Jerry Lewis sing these words: walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone; you'll never walk alone.
Throughout our lives, we have had many people walk with us on our journey; parents, friends, teachers and coaches, spouses, co-workers, even strangers placed on our path.
As people of faith, we never walk alone because Jesus is always right there, walking with us, guiding us on the path to eternal life.
On this 3rd Sunday of Easter we visit the Gospel of Luke and recount the story of the road to Emmaus. It is Easter, late in the afternoon, and two disciples are returning from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a distance of about 8 miles. Scripture only names one of the disciples, Cleopas, who many believe was at the crucifixion. The other disciple was perhaps his wife, or another disciple. Some Scripture scholars say the name unknown is for us, so that we may place ourselves on this journey. And indeed we can and should travel the road to Emmaus as well.
Notice how almost crestfallen the disciples appear to be, things did not work out as we planned. We hoped this Jesus would be the one. But they killed him and now his body is missing. How does Jesus reply to this summation of the disciples story? Oh, how foolish you are! And yes, many times, we can say, how foolish we are too! Jesus then takes the time to open the Scriptures to them, pointing to Himself in all the Scriptures. Let's make this point again, Jesus says all the Scriptures point to Him, all the Scriptures lead to Him. We must be a people of the Holy Scriptures, devouring every word written, open to a life that includes daily devotion to His most Holy Word. After the Scriptures are open for them, and for us, Jesus stays with them and taking bread, He blessed, broke and gave it to them. Here we see Holy Communion. Then, and only then, were the eyes of the disciples opened and they recognized Jesus; in the breaking of the bread. The same Jesus who comes to us at every Mass, in the Word broken open and the bread blessed broken and given to us; the same Jesus; as St. Thomas said last week: My Lord and My God!
Since the first Mass was given by Jesus at Holy Thursday and his body and blood given for us on Good Friday, we can say that this Scripture, this journey to Emmaus, was Jesus again offering the Mass. And all of this taking place on the evening of the Resurrection, a Sunday, what we Christians call the Lord's Day.
How is our walk, our road to Emmaus, with Jesus going? Do we take the time in our daily lives to even let Jesus walk with us? Do we scurry about never even thinking about Jesus in our lives or do we take the time to thank Him, to praise Him, to pray to Him? What do we listen to in our cars? How much busy do we cram into our walking and talking, our coming in and our going out? Do we take time to let Jesus speak to us, to hear Him in the Scriptures, to recognize Him in the Holy Eucharist and to even recognize Him in our family and friends, our neighbors and strangers? Can we be aware of these questions this week and make a real effort to have a true road to Emmaus experience now, and always?
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone; if we walk with Jesus, we will truly never walk alone!