During this covid-19 lockdown many people are seen walking in pairs, as they take their open-air allowable exercise. Such link-ups encourage conversation. This would have been the experience of Cleopas and his companion, as they made their way on the road to Emmaus just after the Resurrection, in the Gospel of Luke. This passage, used often at funerals, is used to give a reflection on the Christian pilgrim’s journey of life. Every journey has a destination, given or chosen, wisely or unwisely picked. Cleopas and partner have chosen unwisely and travel in the wrong direction away from Jerusalem, where the Resurrection has just taken place. Their direction is dramatically changed by their encounter with Christ.
The pilgrim journey of every faithful disciple of Jesus is not an easy one: difficulties are encountered, opposition is met, temptations to divert from the straight road come. But for every individual, pair, group or community of believers, Christ guarantees us his presence. He walks with us and shares our sufferings and problems in his humanity and directs our focus to the divinity of the Father in heaven.
Travellers need food to sustain them. For us believers that food is Christ, the Bread of Life, coming to us in the celebration of the Eucharist. He comes to us in both Word and Sacrament. Sadly, at this time we are deprived of the sacramental experience, while our church doors are closed. Happily, the words of Holy Scripture are always available to sustain us on our journey. Jesus supported his companions on the Emmaus road, as he opened up the scriptures to them and in the breaking the bread. Today’s difficulties are an encouragement to us to read the holy word more and allow the Lord to explain it to us in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is Christ’s promise to us on our next immediate destination: the Feast of Pentecost. May this time be a period of serious preparation for the coming of the Spirit, when, hopefully, the doors will be open for our communities.
There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to savour the sweetness of the Lord; to visit his holy temple. (Ps. 26)