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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 24, 13-35

Now that very same day, two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem,

and they were talking together about all that had happened.

And it happened that as they were talking together and discussing it, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side;

but their eyes were prevented from recognising him.

He said to them, 'What are all these things that you are discussing as you walk along?' They stopped, their faces downcast.

Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, 'You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.'

He asked, 'What things?' They answered, 'All about Jesus of Nazareth, who showed himself a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and the whole people;

and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified.

Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have now gone by since it all happened;

and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning,

and when they could not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive.

Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.'

Then he said to them, 'You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said!

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?'

Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on;

but they pressed him to stay with them saying, 'It is nearly evening, and the day is almost over.' So he went in to stay with them.

Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them.

And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight.

Then they said to each other, 'Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?'

They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions,

who said to them, 'The Lord has indeed risen and has appeared to Simon.'

Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

With the story of Emmaus the Church urges us to remain inside Easter; we should not draw away from it, but rather relive it and enjoy its salvific mystery. The journey of the two disciples is continuing right now with us. We could say that their sadness is also ours and certainly that of many men and women who live oppressed by pain and violence. How many, even today, resign themselves to thinking that nothing can change, just as those two disciples thought, and return to their small village, to their own worries and personal interests? Certainly there is no lack of right reasons for resigning ourselves: the very Gospel often is overcome by evil. It is not rare that all of us have seen hatred win out over love, evil over good, indifference over compassion. But behold one, a stranger, who comes among us—yes, one who is not resigned to the mentality of this world—who begins to explain the Scriptures to us. A dialogue ensues between the two disciples and the stranger. And as the conversation unfolds, the two disciples’ sadness begins to melt away and their hearts begin to burn. They do not realize what is happening: there is a necessity to grow in wisdom and love so that their eyes may open. After the conversation, close to the end of the journey, a simple prayer arises from their heart: “Stay with us.” The stranger listens to their prayer. It had been him who had suggested to the disciples: “Ask and you will receive” (Jn 16:24). And in Revelation: “If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me” (Rev 3:20). Jesus entered to eat with the two and as he broke the bread they recognized him. Seeing that gesture of “breaking the bread” that only Jesus knew how to do, the two recognized the Teacher. He was no longer in the tomb. On the contrary, he was accompanying them along the roads of the world. And right away they went out to communicate the Gospel of the resurrection to the other brothers and sisters.

Prayer of Easter