Two disciples had been on their way to Emmaus. They were leaving Jerusalem; their hopes were shattered after Jesus’ death. Then they met the risen Lord. They didn’t recognize him at first, but they did after he opened the Scriptures for them and broke bread with them. After their encounter they returned to the community in Jerusalem with the news of what had happened. While they were still speaking to the community, Jesus stood in their midst.
Jerusalem is where the disciples assembled. The community in Jerusalem may be together, but they are not a true community. They are fragmented by fear and disappointment. Their hopes were shattered when Christ their leader was killed. They feared death knocking at their door. In their midst Jesus appears. The frightened disciples think that Jesus is a ghost. Jesus greets them with Peace. Jesus’ favorite word after his resurrection is “peace.” He is encouraging them not to be afraid. Then he invites them to touch him. Still more, he asks for food and eats in their presence. The resurrected Christ is very physically present, very much as he was when they traveled and ate together. Jesus reminds them that he is the same, yet there is something very different about him. The one they knew is with them; he has proven that by establishing his physical presence. Yet, the disciples need more in order to accept his new presence with them. What he did for the disciples on the road to Emmaus he does again. He expounds what the Scriptures had said about him. The scriptures remained as a closed book until their minds were opened to understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God made to their ancestors.
The disciples could not understand the scriptures until they witnessed the fact that he rose from the dead. We too, like the first disciples, cannot understand the scriptures until our minds have been opened by our experience with him and by our faith in his resurrection. To understand the scriptures we need to link our lives to what we experience now and what we will experience later. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are the key to unlock the scriptures. Unless we see and believe the link between death and resurrection, the scriptures will remain as a closed book. Jesus did not open the minds of the disciples before his resurrection because even after witnessing to the miracles Jesus performed by raising Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Naim, they were reluctant to believe. Until Jesus rose, the disciples did not have the experience they needed to have open minds to believe in the resurrection and eternal life. He is the link that can open our minds, so that we might understand the Scriptures and our own lives. Until our minds are opened to see the links between what we are now and what we will be later, what we experience now and what we will experience later, the scriptures remain as a closed book.
We are also called to reflect upon the importance of peace in our lives. We can neither buy peace nor acquire it by our efforts alone. Peace is an essential gift which can be granted by the Lord. Peace is the antidote to the modern endemic diseases like anxiety, stress and depression. The resurrected Lord gives us peace of mind, peace of heart and peace for our souls. We get the peace of mind from our encounter with Christ and his Word. The peace of mind frees us from the bondages of sin, worries and fears and enables us to place all our trust in Him. Peace of our hearts results from the rest He assures us in our restlessness. Unless and until we are truly loved and we in turn are free to love, our hearts will be restless. Peace of the soul takes away our fear of the future especially about our life after death. The peace of the resurrected Jesus gives us peace to be hopeful in eternal life.
“Dead faith resembles a dry tree that has no living substance at all. In springtime when other trees bud forth leaves and flowers, this one brings forth nothing, because it does not have sap, which those have that are not dead but only dormant.” St. Francis de Sales