Prayer of Easter

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Memorial of Martin Luther King, killed in Memphis in the United States in 1968. With him we remember all those who hunger and thirst for justice.


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, we remain in Easter. The Liturgy does not want us to draw away from that day that changed the course of the entire creation. We are invited to remain in its mystery and relive it. We could say that the journey of those two disciples continues now also with us. Their sadness may be also ours in seeing that still today many men and women are crushed by violence and conflicts. We too can succumb to discouragement and resignation, thinking that nothing can change, and return to our "villages," to our business, and to our habits. Certainly, there is no lack of good reasons to resign ourselves: where is the power of the Gospel to change? Where is the victory of life over death? Where is the love that defeats hatred and evil? These are questions that look totally normal to us, even more real. But behold, there is a stranger who comes among us—yes, one who is not resigned to the thinking of this world— and starts explaining the Scriptures to us. This is the daily meeting with the Scriptures that is asked of us. And while our dialogue with the Word of God continues we feel our sadness melting and the warmth of hope lighting in our heart. And a simple prayer arises from our hearts: "Stay with us." The stranger who had not spoken until then, listens to the prayer of the two travellers. Besides, during the three years of preaching, Jesus had urged his disciples many times to ask the Father for what they needed: "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). Jesus heard them and entered to eat with them. And as he broke the bread, their eyes opened, and they recognized him. Only Jesus knew how to speak in that way, only Jesus knew how to break bread in that way. The two recognized Jesus. He was no longer in the tomb. He was alive, and he was accompanying them along the way. And immediately, they went out and returned to the brothers and sisters. The meeting with the risen Jesus cannot be kept for ourselves. It must be communicated to our brothers and sisters in a hurry. This is what this Gospel passage continues to ask us even today.