Easter reflection: Mission to Hope

By Fr James Crampsey SJ

In Luke 24:13, the Jesus who joins up with the two disciples journeying to Emmaus stops them in their tracks. The pause in the movement allows them to find the words  “Jesus of Nazareth” and “we had hoped”.

The broken hearts of the disciples at the loss of Jesus are held together by two other breakings: the breaking of the word and the breaking of the bread.

The narrative has points of contact with the Eucharistic liturgy. The two disciples with their sore hearts are the nucleus of the gathering of the community, and provide an instance of Jesus’ saying in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them”.

And Jesus is among them, even if they don’t recognise him. Their sore hearts are what they bring and Jesus is in those sore hearts as they become hearts on fire with a mission.

The opening of their hearts as they hear the word becomes an opening of their eyes when the bread is broken.

The presence of Jesus is liberating, transforming and now they know themselves missioned to Jerusalem. They arrive to hear the echo of their own experience,

“The Lord has risen and appeared to Simon”

Almost immediately, Jesus appears. The two had gone to the place where Jesus himself has going to visit: heralds of the Jesus who continues to be with those whom he has sent on a mission.

The breaking of the bread is a sign that recalls the ministry of Jesus and shows a continuity between the Ministry of Jesus and the person that they have met on the road.

He consoles them with the sign that the breaking of the bread continues despite the breaking of his body, perhaps continues because of the breaking of his body.

“We had hoped”

We hope again.

There is nothing quite like the appearance to the women in Matthew: ordinary, gentle and consoling: “And there coming up the road to meet them, was Jesus.”

For me there is something deeply moving and humbling that this extraordinary meeting is expressed in such ordinary words.

And we are like the women, in that once the stone of our heart is rolled away, we open a space for Jesus to come up the road to meet us, to console us, to help us understand more deeply our own sense of being sent into the world to share what he has given us through his death and resurrection; his light, his life and his heart.

Image: Unsplash/Pisit Heng

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