Walking with the Risen Lord

Walking with the Risen Lord

Our life in this world is a journey; it is a spiritual walk just as it is a physical walk. And as we proceed with our spiritual journey, we can walk nearer to, or farther from, the Lord.

In the gospel (Lk 24:13-35), we read about two disciples taking a 7-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the very day that Jesus resurrected from the dead. Downcast and disheartened, they were talking with each other about the events that have happened in the city. Suddenly, Jesus started walking with them but they did not recognize him. Jesus asked them, “What are you discussing with each other?” One of the two, a man named Cleopas, answered, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” Jesus asked them further, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.  Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

Pausing for a while, we can ask ourselves, “At this juncture in their journey, were the two men walking nearer to, or farther from, Jesus, spiritually speaking? My opinion is that they were walking farther from Jesus. Why?

First, notice the direction of their journey. They were walking towards Emmaus − away from Jerusalem where the great events of the crucifixion on Good Friday, and the news about the resurrection on that first Easter Sunday, have all happened, just very recently. But why were the two men walking away from the center of action? Of course, they may have personal commitments to fulfill, but could any human commitment be so important that one cannot stay a little longer to witness the glory of God unfold?

Second, notice how the two men defined who Jesus is – “Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.” These were followers of Jesus. One thing sure, they have heard him teach and preach. They have witnessed his miracles, and they were privy to Jesus’ revelation of who he really is. They should have known that Jesus is the Son of God. But why the lowering of status in their description of him − from God’s Son to a mere prophet? This must be a weakening of faith – a walk farther from the Lord.

Third, notice their account of the resurrection – how some women found Jesus’ tomb empty and how they had seen a vision of angels who said that Jesus was alive. What this tells us is that these men heard the news about Jesus’ resurrection. They were not ignorant about it; they knew it and they were aware of it. But why were they leaving? Were they not excited to see with their own eyes the resurrected Christ? Or, could it be because of their unbelief in the resurrection that they were fleeing?

How about us, how is our walk of faith? Are we knowing God more, loving Him more, and serving Him more? Are we saying no to temptation, and yes to good works? Is our faith becoming stronger or weaker?

Sadly, the two men were presumably in a downhill in their spiritual lives as they walked to Emmaus. But lo and behold, instead of condemning or abandoning them, Jesus came to their rescue. He met them at their low point and gave them the grace to rise again. He said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with the books of Moses and of all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in the scriptures. Wow, these two men had the best Bible study ever, with their teacher no other than Jesus himself. And in this study, Jesus taught them that he was the fulfillment of all the prophecies in the Old Testament, and that his passion, death, and resurrection were all in the Divine plan of God to save the world.

Do we recognize Jesus in the Scriptures? Do we see that the Old Testament is the shadow of the New Testament, and that the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament? Do we study the Word and realize that Jesus, himself, is the Living Word of God?

Reaching their destination, the two men asked their companion to stay with them as it was already evening. Then Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. At that very moment, the men recognized that the stranger who walked with them is no less than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, after which he vanished from their sight.

Do we recognize Jesus as we take the Holy Communion? Do we believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? Do we receive his body and blood, and become one with him and the community of believers? Vanished from our sight, do we see him in the species of bread and wine?

May this gospel on “Walking with the Risen Lord” inspire us to see the spiritual realities behind our study of the Word of God and our partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

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