Emmaus Sunday

Emmaus Sunday

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Today is often called “Emmaus Sunday” because it’s the story of Emmaus and the disciples were walking to Emmaus. I want to use that for an image. Just what it’s like to take a walk with somebody. I promised as my Easter resolution that I was going to make and Emmaus walk every Sunday. I would try to find somebody and just take a walk with them and try to talk about how I experience God during the Mass. Fr. Fred’s in his scooter right now, so it’s a little hard to walk with him. I got Fr. Jeremy to do it today. Instead of walking we took bicycles. We didn’t realize how out of shape we were. It was only like a 2 mile ride and we were dying. We talked about what happened at Mass, when we most felt our hearts burning within us. It amazing thing that sometimes we don’t often realize it until we stop and reflect. When I was in the seminary we used to have walks around the seminary and it was just the guys. When we were going through stressful times you would just find somebody else and say “hey I gotta go for a walk”, and that meant you would go for a walk around the seminary until your troubles were gone. You would just keep walking, sometimes seven, eight, nine, ten times around the seminary and you would walk together. Just by walking and conversing, the problems seemed to dissipate. There was just something about being able to share your story and your journey with someone else.

The disciples were doing that. They were walking and we hear that they’re downcast. Literally they were looking down, they were depressed, they were sad because Jesus, who they thought was going to be the savior suffered and died, and it was now 3 days and they hadn’t seen him. Jesus promised that he would raise in 3 days. So they were starting to get discouraged. As they’re walking, the two of them were walking, all of a sudden, they’re joined by a third person. Do you remember who that was? Do you know who joined them? Who was it? Jesus, very good. Jesus, all of a sudden joined them, and begins to walk with them. Here’s the amazing thing, the don’t get it, they don’t know that it’s Jesus. He’s right there, waking with them, and they don’t even realize it. I love that Jesus says, “Hey what sort of things are you talking about?” It’s like Jesus goes “Hey what’s up guys? What are you talking about?” They can just really share what’s on their heart with Jesus. They begin to share with him. Then something amazing happens. The sun is setting, they’ve been walking for a while, it’s going to be night soon, and they say, “Why don’t you stay with us?” Jesus stays with them and shares Eucharist with them. He takes the bread, he blesses it, he breaks it and he gives it to them.

Charlie, in just a moment, that’s what’s going to happen with you. Myself, as the priest, I will take the bread, I’ll bless it, break it and I’ll give it to you, and you receive Jesus. At that moment, the disciples eyes were opened. The say him, the really experienced the Resurrected Christ, for a moment. Then it was over. He disappeared from their midst. Then they realized “were not our hearts burning within us
as we walked along the road to Emmaus and he opened up Scripture to us.”

The thing is, we often don’t realize when Jesus is with us. It takes time, and that’s why we come to Mass every Sunday. It takes coming to Mass and receiving the Eucharist, that all of a sudden our eyes can be opened. That was my resolution and challenge, that every Sunday to try to take a walk with somebody and just talk about how was my heart burning at Mass this Sunday? What happened at Mass today that really caused my heart to stir? I did this and Fr. Jeremy did this and it was really cool because we both got to share moments from this weekend. I would invite you guys to do this, especially Charlie. Take a walk with your parents tonight, just for a little bit, and say “ how was your heart burning? When did you feel him? How did you experience him? I invite all of you to think about doing that. It’s a beautiful day, before it rains, go outside, take a walk, and just talk about Mass – how was your heart burning within you? Maybe it’s even on the drive home. Just one moment at Mass where you felt God burning within you. The more that we do that, the more we will discover He does walk with us. Often times, we think we’re walking alone in this life. It happens all throughout the week. So in your last week, you might have thought that you walked the entire week alone, but guess what, who was walking with you the whole time? Jesus. The entire time He was with you, but it’s not until the breaking of the bread that we realize it. I just invite you do that, to pray for the grace that as you receive Communion that your eyes will be opened, that you’ll see him here, and you’ll see him throughout the week, but also to actually take an Emmaus walk tonight or sometime throughout the week and reflect back on this Mass- when was your heart burning? When did you feel his presence, because it’s often not until later that we feel it. Especially as Charlie makes his First Communion, I don’t know if you guys remember yours, but it flies by. Just try to take it in and enjoy it. But, reflect on it later tonight with your parents, because it’s in looking back that we realize that Jesus is actually walking with us.

Spend some time after your next mass and find someone to walk with and share a time when your heart was stirring within you. Talk about your life, talk about your week… It’s often in walking and reflecting back that we recognize that he has been walking with us all along!

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.