“I” Witness: Wk 3: We Are All Witnesses
Third Sunday of Easter: “I” Witness: Wk 3: We Are All Witnesses
The gospel of Luke is the only one that describes this incident of the Lord coming to these two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Do you realize the Emmaus story is really our story?
These two followers of Christ don’t appear anywhere else in the Gospel. We don’t hear about them before or after this incident. We only know the name of one of them. Our lack of knowledge about them is an important detail. Here the scene shifts from the major figures of the bible like Peter, John, Mary Magdalene, and Thomas to two ordinary people, like us, and the Lord comes to them.
The first point of the Emmaus story is that the risen Christ is near to all of us, to every single Christian, because we are all important to him. As Peter says in the second reading, we were all ransomed by his very blood.
These two disciples to whom the Lord came were not in Jerusalem, not in the upper room, not even near the garden tomb. They were on an ordinary road, traveling to a small village a few miles from Jerusalem. We are not sure where Emmaus was which teaches us that the risen Christ can join and be part of our life wherever we are.
The “where” of the Emmaus story is a nameless road, really any road, every road where we are, any point on the road of life as a child, teenager, young adult, parent or senior citizen. It is anywhere in the world of work, whatever our occupation. It is anywhere we are personally, in doubt, in grief, in joy, in consternation, in worry, in distress. Christ is there with us. That’s the “where” of the Emmaus story. The road on which they travel is our road right now and Christ is with you as well.
Evidently, these two disciples didn’t see the empty tomb and didn’t believe the reports they heard. Their way of coming to know Jesus was in the “breaking of the bread” which was an early term for the Mass. Like those disciples on the road to Emmaus, reflecting on the bible and the Mass, is how most of us come to know the Lord. We don’t have visions, we don’t see the nail prints, we don’t hear our name called by the audible voice of Christ. We come to know the Lord as we enter into the Sacred Scriptures and in the Eucharist, the Mass, as we gather to do what Jesus told us to do. He said “Do this in memory of Me.” Here is where we recognize the Lord is with us.
The message of the Emmaus Gospel is that whoever you are, wherever you are in life, the risen Lord is near you. We come to recognize his presence in the “breaking of the bread,” in the Mass throughout our life.
That is why it’s so important to stay close to the Mass in difficult times as well as in good times. We come to the Mass at weddings, at funerals, at Christmas and Easter, in ordinary times and extraordinary times. Here our eyes are opened and we realize that the Lord is really with us all the time, all along the way.
Like these two disciples, we can so focus on our own disappointments and problems, on our own preconceptions of how things should be that we can miss the bigger picture. They thought they had found a political liberator but Jesus revealed himself as a crucified Redeemer. They thought he would save only Israel, but Jesus came for the Gentiles as well. They could not understand pain, suffering or catastrophe as part of the plan of God. Jesus showed them that it was.
Here, in the “breaking of the bread,” at Mass, it is a grace to be challenged through the homily. Here, through Word and Sacrament, Jesus teaches us and opens our eyes to the truth that our lives are part of the bigger arc of God’s plan. The Mass is our Emmaus where our eyes open to recognize the truth about the Lord and about ourselves.
In this magnificent Easter appearance, in that small town called Emmaus, the risen Jesus showed those two disciples where he could always be found, in the breaking of the bread, in the Mass. And then they go out to tell others, to give witness to what they experienced. We too, after encountering Jesus here in the breaking of the bread, are sent out into the world to be his witnesses, to share him with others.
Some people ask me how they can get to know Jesus better, not just know of him or about him, but to get to know him intimately. The key is the more we share him, the more we gain him and grow in him. The more we share him, the more intimately we will know him. If you keep him on a shelf as something you only pull down on Sunday, I’m sorry, but you will never know him.
So yes, encounter our Lord here during Mass, worship and celebrate him! Then go as a witness to Jesus, to tell others about him, and to live your lives accordingly. Those two disciples became witnesses after they encountered Jesus at Mass, per se; they shared their faith. As a matter of fact we are all witnesses.
You and I are an I Witness! Not an E-Y-E witness because we were not there to see Jesus but an I Witness, because you are giving witness to Jesus rising from the dead by what you tell others and by the way you live your life, if you live like a true believer. Yes if you live like a true believer, teach and tell others about Christ, you are an I Witness.
To help you become a better disciple of Jesus, and to help you grow closer to him, this is what we want you to do. Find someone with whom you can share your faith journey.
One of the easiest and best ways to share your faith, and be an I witness, is what we call three conversations. You simply offer to pray with others, tell them about your faith journey and encourage them to share the story of their journey with you. You can review the easy three conversations method on our website at saintmary.life/3c
Make no mistake about it. We are all witnesses, sent to share our faith. How is that going for you?