Sunday, April 23, 2006
Emmaus and the Stranger
The Gospel story of the road to Emmaus strikes me in a way it hasn’t yet to this point. The story of the road to Emmaus is not only the historical account of two men encountering the risen Christ, but it is in so many ways a parable unto itself.
Traveling the roads alone in Jesus’s day was dangerous, one was likely to be robbed, beaten, even killed. Being out on the roads alone at night was even worse. The two disciples encounter a stranger on the way. This was a man who was along the way and had no friends, no place to stay, and so they lived out their faith by bringing him along, by sharing with him what little they had in their companionship and material goods. Even in the midst of their confusion, their doubt, their insecurity they lived their lives committed to who they were, out of the dispositions of love and hospitality which had grown in their hearts by encountering Christ. On the road they met the stranger, who took them in to himself in so many ways.
On the road the road to Emmaus the stranger taken in taught the disciples who they were, who Christ was, who God was. Their hearts burned because in their midst was the Son of God, but so often it is in welcoming in the stranger, the outcast, the oppressed, that we discover who we are in God’s light. It is in welcoming in the stranger that we are challenged, shaken from the complacency of our confusion and ambivalence and radically made to choose… to remember who Christ is for us.
They knew him in the breaking of the bread.. They knew him in sharing what they had with him. They knew him in welcoming him, a stranger along the road, in to their home, into their lives. Without regard for their personal security, without worrying about how much food they had, they welcomed him in. That is how they knew him. The recognition of the risen Christ comes in hospitality, in welcoming in the stranger. The story is evident, the parable is simple. We come to know Christ in welcoming the stranger, the outcast. We come to know Christ in breaking bread with those who have none. We come to know who we are by listening to them, by hearing them with new ears. Our hearts then burn with the love of the one who loved us to endure Good Friday, and come to us even as the stranger on Easter Sunday
Posted by Mike, S.J. at 5:41 AM