“The road to Emmaus thus becomes a symbol of our journey of faith: the Scriptures and the Eucharist are the indispensable elements for encountering the Lord. We too often go to Sunday Mass with our worries, difficulties and disappointments…. Life sometimes wounds us and we go away feeling sad, towards our “Emmaus,” turning our backs on God’s plan. We distance ourselves from God. But the Liturgy of the Word welcomes us: Jesus explains the Scriptures to us and rekindles in our hearts the warmth of faith and hope, and in Communion he gives us strength.”—Pope Francis
The story of Emmaus carries a depth of feeling that resonates with us because we’ve all experienced some level of disappointed hopes and dreams in our lives. Dreams jobs turn to daily drudgery. Failed relationships leave us brokenhearted. Illness and injury break our bodies and sometimes our spirits. If we’re in the midst of such a time, the pope’s words can sound hollow to our ears. And yet, if we heed them, we will discover the deeper truth to which they point. The Word of God can speak a word of hope and promise to our despair. The Bread of Life can fill an emptiness, a hunger, that gnaws at us. Sometimes all we have to do is show up. We have to make that much of an effort. Often we go with no expectations, almost no hope. And God surprises us with the right word, the right thought, a much-needed smile or hug from someone. The message of Easter is that God shows up when we least expect it: a voice in the garden calling our name, a stranger on the road, a tap on the shoulder, breakfast on the beach or dinner after a long day at work. Sometimes the alleluias are quiet, but no less heartfelt for all that.
—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis,
by Diane M. Houdek