April 23, 2023

Dear parish family,

The Emmaus story that we hear proclaimed on this Third Sunday of Easter is like a gospel within the Gospel. It is so rich a lesson that it serves as a summary of our own bonding with the Lord on the journey of life.

For the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, the future looked grim indeed. After Jesus’ death on the cross, they felt all was lost. But Jesus came along and used the Scriptures to enlighten them. When he opened the meaning of God’s Word to them, they began to understand his cross in a totally new light. They saw it not as a total disaster but as the start of a new age of grace. Once arrived in Emmaus, they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. It was the spirit of self-giving that Jesus invested in the act that ultimately showed them who he really was.

The Emmaus story speaks to people of all ages. We can see ourselves in these two weary travelers on their journey, in the faith and hope they have lost, in the experience of having someone suddenly come along to walk the difficult road with them, giving them fresh insights, and giving them renewed faith and hope. And, of course, we can identify with their recognition of the Lord in the breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist, in someone’s act of self-giving to us. Too often we think that we are all alone on the rocky road of life, with our struggles, discouragement and pain to share. Does the Lord know? Is he there? Our Christian faith and sensitivity, as known already from the earliest times of the Church, assure us that he is present and that he walks with us on the often-rocky road of life. He speaks to us and breaks his bread for us, as he did for his disciples at the Last Supper and on the pilgrim road of Emmaus.

When we are sad, or bored or discouraged or all alone as we travel, the journey seems dreary and long. But when we let someone else join us on the road, a friend, or even a stranger who gives us courage and joy again, the journey becomes lighter, and our hearts are lifted up. The road of life is like this. At times it is hard and tiring, but it becomes easy and joyful when we know that the Lord journeys with us and warms our hearts. Today and every day Jesus wants to be our companion on the road of life. Do we let him? Do we recognize him?

Yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham