Friday, June 16, 2023
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Welcome to On the Road to Emmaus. I am delighted that you have decided to join me on this journey. Over the course of a year, we will walk together through the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Every week I will send you a communication containing catechesis, inspiration and a challenge. We might call this a “training in holiness”! I encourage you to invite your family members and friends to join us.
Okay. Let us start with that journey of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as recorded in Chapter 24 of Saint Luke’s Gospel. This event gives us the overall picture of where we are going. The pair are downcast, but then Christ joins them on the road. After the tumult of the passion and death of the Lord, this scene of Jesus teaching and eating with two of his followers is so filled with hope. Jesus does two things which bring them great joy. He explains the Scriptures to them and then he joins them in their home and breaks the bread for them. This meal clearly has Eucharistic elements to it, using the same set of verbs used at the Last Supper. Though Jesus then disappears from their physical sight, they become aware of how present he was to them as he opened the Scriptures and broke the bread. This vanishing also looks forward to our regular gathering at the table of the Lord until the heavenly banquet welcomes us in the end.
Amazingly, this is exactly what we do at Holy Mass every time it is celebrated. We spend time on opening the Scriptures, something Jesus did all during his ministry to show that he is indeed the Messiah of God, and then we celebrate the Eucharistic gift, the very Body and Blood of the Lord, such that Jesus is made really present to us. He is not present as he was while walking through Galilee, but he is truly present to us disciples as he was to those disciples so long ago. Saint Augustine of Hippo notes: “Ah, yes, brothers and sisters, but where did the Lord wish to be recognized? In the breaking of the bread.”
My sisters and brothers, Saint Luke would have us remember that the Lord wants our ears open to the Word of God and our eyes open to the presence of God and this will happen at the table of the Lord as we gather each Sunday. Let our hearts burn, let us invite the Lord into our homes, let us take that blessed meal from his hands and let us recognize Jesus as the Son of God who died and rose for us.
So, my challenge for all of us this week is to read several times Saint Luke’s account of that first journey on the road to Emmaus as found in Chapter 24 of his Gospel. Spend some time reflecting on this beautiful encounter of Jesus with his disciples. Let this be our encounter as well. Until next week, God bless you all.
Yours in Christ,
+ Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing