It almost starts out like a joke. Two guys are walking down a road away from where everything is happening to another town. Then Jesus walks with them and they don’t recognize him. I know the disciples aren’t exactly the brightest stars in the sky, but how could they not recognize him when he was right in front of them?! Then again, Jesus was already calling them foolish and slow of heart because they didn’t understand how the Messiah was to redeem Israel.
At this point, Jesus’s disciples expected Jesus to reconquer Israel from the Romans and rule as an earthly Davidic king. But the real enemy wasn’t the Romans. It was sin itself, which was something Jesus explained by quoting Moses and the prophets and all of the foretellings of the Messiah’s suffering and death. His conversation must’ve been seriously compelling because when he gave the impression that he was going to go along further down the road, the disciples pleaded with him to stay with them.
It wasn’t until Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them that the disciples finally recognized him, but by the time they realized it, Jesus disappeared into thin air. Hindsight then reveals to the disciples how their hearts burned as he was talking to them and helping them to understand the Messiah’s suffering, death, and resurrection.
I think our lives are a lot like the journey the two disciples took to Emmaus. Too often we go away from where everything is happening, not wanting to be part of it. We have so many expectations about what we think our lives should be and feel disappointed at the reality in front of us. Then, Jesus comes into our lives and we don’t even realize He’s even there with us. This especially applies to when times get hard and God just seems so far away from us. It’s not until after we’ve been given the grace of the Eucharist or some other major blessing that we finally look back on our lives and realize that Jesus was always with us.
There was a period of time in between my childhood in New Jersey and my current life in Texas that I spent living in California. At the time, I lived in San Bernardino Valley, where the view from my window every morning was a mountain range instead of a beach. The move to California was very sudden and since I went to public school, I didn’t have any strong, Catholic influences to hold onto. I didn’t even go to Mass every Sunday.
But in the three years I spent in the California desert, God was always with me. I took part in a Christian Club and a Bible Study group that were both held in my school. I often took a Bible with me to school to read and went to Christian gift shops for reading material. One book in particular that I kept going back to was one that I found in my own home library: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis.
This book was far beyond the reading level of your average teenager, but I was very pretentious at the time. I marked off passages in the book that I felt applied to my life, like how avoiding hasty judgments would help me get along with the bullies in my English class or how being patient would help me survive Geometry. Now that I’m all grown up, I understand and adore the book on a whole new level, especially the section devoted to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
I highly recommend that you read this book as I consider it one of my favorites. In fact, I often read it while I’m in Adoration, as it has many wonderful meditations as well as advice on daily life. I hope that you will love it as much as I do, my dearest sisters in Christ. God bless!