As mentioned last week, after the resurrection of Jesus, He appeared many times to the Apostles and to some of His followers including women who were close to Him. From the experience of deep sorrow in His death, their hearts later rejoiced because He appeared to them, truly risen from the dead. He restored their anguished hearts and gave them a renewed life where they could let go of the pain of sorrow that they had been experiencing. He had given hope again to their hopeless hearts.
As we read last time, in the account about the two disciples on the road going to Emmaus we saw that they were deeply hurt and sorrowful because of what had happened to Jesus. Perhaps they wanted to escape from what had occurred. They may have been fleeing from Jerusalem because they were afraid. But on that road going to Emmaus, Jesus met them.
Sometimes in our own lives, we may want to flee from the realities of life. We may be able to escape for a while but in the long run it may not really help us because we continue to be disturbed and burdened by the events and memories. Acceptance of our painful experiences will bring us into the process of healing and God will always take the initiative to meet us along the way, just like when He met those two disciples. He will always manifest His love and concern for us. He will meet us on the crossroads of our life and help us to understand the situation.
When Jesus explained the scriptures to the two disciples, their hearts started to feel awe and wonder – yet at this time they did not recognise Him until at their meal time together with Jesus, at the breaking of the bread. Every time Jesus appeared to the Apostles, He stayed with them and shared a meal with them. Having a meal is very important, especially when it is shared with the family. This is not only a time of eating and being satisfied with what we eat, it is the sharing of life, whether or not it contains good or bad news.
Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the Divine Meal that Jesus shares with us, He emphasises His real presence with us. The Eucharist is His legacy to us of being in communion with us. He is sharing His very self with us. We also regain our strength in communion with one another. How happy we are together as a family at a meal – the large family of God where each one is present in and with Him.
There is always a joy being with Jesus in the moments when we are in communion with Him and with one another as one big family, the Church. Our hearts, too, burn with joy – the everlasting joy when we want to be with Him in the life eternal. Everybody is invited to dine with Him at His banquet – this is the meal that does not discriminate against anyone. This is the meal of the Lord where we are with Him, enjoying His presence. Our hearts are aflame with His love when we hear His Divine Word proclaimed. It is at His banquet that we feel His presence in the priest, within ourselves, and among the people.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Mt 18:20)
He gives us the strength, inspiration and new life to live with Him. Let us join in communion and be present with Jesus at this joyful celebration of the Eucharist. And may our hearts continue to burn in His presence and with His infinite love!