Prayer of Easter

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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 Emmaus account, the Church urges us to stay in Easter; we need not draw away from it but must relive it to enjoy its saving mystery for us and for the world. We could say that the journey of those two disciples continues now also with us. 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 villages, to their own worries and personal interests. Certainly, there is no lack of good reasons to resign ourselves: the very Gospel, one could say, is often overcome by evil. We all can see that it is not unusual that hatred wins over love, evil over good, indifference over compassion. But behold, there is a stranger, who comes among us—yes, one who is not resigned to the mentality of this world and therefore it is foreign to him—who comes close to us. We need to welcome him and to start a dialogue with him. It is what happens when we open the Scriptures and start listening to them. At the beginning we hear a reproach, that is the emergence of a distance between those high words and our laziness, our sin, our resignation to how we live and to what happens in the world. But if we continue to listen to the stranger, if we continue to open our ears and hearts to his words, we too, together with these two disciples, will feel our heart burn within us and the sadness that overwhelms us melt away. We need to listen to the Gospel words in order to free our minds from the banal thoughts that prevent us from seeing the signs of the time. The Gospel, read and reflected upon, is the light that illuminates our eyes to see God’s plan and it is also the fire that warms up our heart to discover again the passion to change the world. After the long conversation with the stranger, close to the end of the journey, a simple prayer arises from their hearts: “Stay with us.” The Gospel does not pass without effect. Those who listen to it find prayer again. And Jesus listens to it promptly. It had been he who had suggested to the disciples: “Ask and you will receive” (Jn 16:24); and in Revelations: “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). That Easter evening Jesus entered to eat with the two, and as he broke the bread, they recognized him. Seeing that gesture of “breaking the bread” that Jesus gave during the last supper, the two recognized the Teacher. He was no longer closed in the tomb. On the contrary, he was accompanying them along the roads of the world. And immediately, they went out to communicate the Gospel of the resurrection to their other brothers and sisters. Mary recognized him when he called her by name, the two of Emmaus when he broke bread with them. The Eucharist is Easter for us, the moment in which we encounter the Risen One together with Mary and the two of Emmaus.