Prayer in Eastertime

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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 story of Emmaus we are invited to remain in the miracle of Easter; we should live it again and communicate it so that it may transform our world towards a risen life. The journey of the two disciples is continuing with us. Their sadness can be also ours in seeing that still today many men and women are crushed by violence and conflicts. There are still many, too many "crucified" people on earth. And we too can give in to discouragement and resignation and think that nothing can change; we can return to our "villages", minding our own business, satisfied with our habits and without the dream of a new world. Unfortunately there is no lack of reasons for being hopeless: three days, several years have passed and nothing seems to change in this world. Where is the power of change of the Gospel? Where is the victory of life over death? How can we remove so much hatred and evil from the world? At times they may seem normal, even realistic questions. And here, this year Easter comes back and involves us as it happened to the two of Emmaus. The issue is to start listening again, to return being more familiar with Scriptures and to understand their strength. It is the daily encounter with the Word of God. It is truly foreign to us, that is different from our heart and thoughts; it comes at our side to enlighten our mind with God's dream and to warm our heart with the passion of the risen Jesus. A simple prayer arises: "Stay with us." The stranger who had been speaking till then, now listens to the prayer of the two. Jesus entered the house to eat with them and as he broke the bread their eyes opened and they recognized him. Only Jesus was able to speak that way; only Jesus was able to "break the bread" that way. The two recognized him. He was no longer in the tomb; rather, he was accompanying them along the road.