At Mass tonight, the Gospel reading from the lectionary features a story that has been a favorite of mine for years - the account of Christ on the road to Emmaus from Luke. This pivotal passage has played an instrumental role in my spiritual journey for the past 22 years and continues to uniquely strengthen my faith. In reflecting upon the significance of this passage, I want to explore the importance of Scripture, the Eucharist, and Christian fellowship in our own faith journey, drawing on key elements of this powerful story.
Encountering Christ in Scripture
In Luke's Gospel, the story of the road to Emmaus portrays Jesus engaging in a transformative conversation with two of His disciples. As they walked together, the disciples were deep in conversation, trying to make sense of the recent events surrounding Christ's crucifixion and the empty tomb. Jesus, unrecognized by the disciples, began to teach them about the Scriptures, starting with Moses and the prophets. In doing so, He revealed how the Old Testament scriptures pointed to Him as the Messiah (Luke 24:25-27).
"Christ is the goal of the Law and the Prophets: they all looked forward to His coming and announced it; and He interprets them and is their fulfillment." - St. Gregogry of Nyssa, Against Eunomius
This encounter teaches us that by immersing ourselves in Scripture, we can deepen our understanding of Christ and allow our hearts to burn within us as we grow in faith. As believers, we should strive to approach the Word of God with open hearts, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to illuminate our understanding and transform our lives.
"As they were walking, He opened for them the Scriptures, which they had read, and He explained the prophecies, which they had heard, but had not understood." - St. Ephram the Syrian, Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron
The Power of the Eucharist
In this story, the disciples' eyes were opened to recognize Christ during the breaking of bread (Luke 24:30-31). This revelation in the context of a shared meal highlights the importance of the Eucharist, a sacrament at the heart of Christian worship. The Eucharist serves as a vital means to encounter the risen Christ, affirming His presence in our lives and strengthening our connection to Him.
Through this sacrament, we experience Christ's presence and grace in a tangible way, fortifying our faith and fostering a deeper connection to the Church as the body of Christ. As we partake in the Eucharist, we are reminded of Christ's sacrifice and the transformative power of His love, which sustains us on our spiritual journey.
"Let us break bread with the Lord, and He will make Himself known to us in the breaking of bread, as He did to the disciples at Emmaus." - St. Jerome, Letter 22.37
Christian Fellowship and Worship
The account of the road to Emmaus also emphasizes the importance of Christian fellowship and worship. The disciples initially invited Jesus to stay with them, and through their shared meal and conversation, their faith was strengthened. As we actively engage in communal worship and partake in the Eucharist, we can draw strength and encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
"It is in the company of the saints, gathered in fellowship, that we come to know Christ and experience His presence, just as the disciples did on the road to Emmaus." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John
These experiences help us cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ and empower us to serve as witnesses to the transformative power of the Gospel. Through our involvement in the Church community, we can support and encourage one another as we navigate the joys and challenges of our faith journey together.
A Balanced Approach to Faith
The road to Emmaus story demonstrates the interconnectedness of Scripture, fellowship, and the Eucharist as essential elements of the Christian faith. By placing these elements at the heart of our own faith journey, we can cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ and be empowered to share the Good News with others.
It is crucial to strike a balance between the study of Scripture and active participation in the Church's worship and sacramental life. By engaging with both aspects of our faith, we can experience the fullness of Christ's presence and be better equipped to live out our calling as His disciples
"While Christ converses, their souls were on fire; such was the power of the words He spoke to them." - St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew
Embracing the Lessons of the Road to Emmaus
As we continue our faith journey, let us strive to emulate the disciples' experience on the road to Emmaus by immersing ourselves in Scripture, participating in the worship of the Church, and partaking of the Eucharist. In doing so, we will draw closer to Christ, experience the burning of our hearts, and be equipped to share the Good News with those around us. This balanced approach to our faith will not only deepen our relationship with Christ but also help us become more effective ambassadors of His love and grace in the world.
"Just as the disciples at Emmaus recognized the Lord through the breaking of bread, so too are we to recognize Him in the fellowship of believers and the celebration of the Eucharist." - St. John Cassian, Conferences
Furthermore, let us remember the importance of sharing our encounters with the risen Christ with others. In a world that is often filled with confusion and despair, our testimonies can serve as powerful tools to spread hope, love, and the saving message of the Gospel. As we testify to the transformative power of Christ in our lives, we can encourage others to seek Him and experience the life-changing impact of His love.
Living on the Road to Emmaus
The road to Emmaus story offers us a beautiful and powerful reminder of the importance of Scripture, the Eucharist, and Christian fellowship in our faith journey. By immersing ourselves in the Word of God and actively participating in the worship of the Church, we can experience the presence of Christ in our lives and grow in our relationship with Him.
"When we gather together to listen to the Word of God, we experience the same joy as the disciples on the road to Emmaus, for Christ Himself speaks to us through the Scriptures." - St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit
Let us take inspiration from the disciples' encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus and continue to seek Him in every aspect of our faith journey. In doing so, we can experience the burning of our hearts as we grow closer to Christ and be equipped to share His love and grace with the world around us.
About Thom Crowe
Thom was ordained a deacon in the Orthodox Church before joining the Anglican tradition, works in tech marketing marketing, am is dad to a sweet little girl and husband to a great wife who runs the Made Shop. He's an avid reader, beer aficionado, lover of theology and history, and insufferable coffee snob. Thom says he has a pretty happy life in Tulsa, OK.