Greetings friends! Thank you for sharing this time with me. Today’s Gospel is a little lengthy, so I will just read the last 8 verses. Two of Jesus’ disciples were walking 7 miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus and suddenly they were joined by a stranger. Their conversation was deep, since they were still processing the death of their Master, Jesus. But let’s hear the story:
The Holy Gospel According to St. Luke the 24th Chapter
Glory to you, Oh Lord.
“As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
The Gospel of our Lord.
Praise to you, Oh Christ!
Grace and peace are yours from God our Father and from His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
If you have lost a loved one very close to you, you will relate to my story. I was 18 years old when my mom died very suddenly. The hours and days following her death were terrible. I felt denial, confusion, disappointment, sadness, guilt, blame, and anger, all at the same time. I remember feeling like I was walking without touching the floor. I can remember people talking to me, but I did not have a clue what they were saying, and I can’t remember looking them in the eyes, nor even listening to their words. I truly don’t remember who was at her funeral or who visited us afterwards.
Unfortunately, in my despair, I stopped praying. Although I kept in touch with my church friends and community, I simply was not talking to the Lord of the church, my Master.
It wasn’t until many, many months later that my mother’s friend came to town and wanted to see me. We visited, and at the end of our time together, she began to pray. I was waiting to hear the words: “in Jesus’ name we pray, amen,” so I could leave. Instead she just stopped, and there was silence. In that long silence, I understood she wanted me to pray as well. But I did not want to pray; I had turned my back to Jesus. After what seemed like hours (which probably was only about ten minutes, but hey, ten minutes in silence is a lot!) I thought, ‘How hard can it be to make up a prayer? Then I’ll be free to go’. So I proceeded and said, “Dear Jesus…”
Immediately, something happened that I cannot explain. I felt as if Jesus hugged me, as if that was all he wanted to hear. I then realized that he had never left my side, that he had been caring for me all this time, crying with me, and being sad with me in my grief. My eyes were opened and since then, I have committed my whole life to serving him.
And just like that, I have shared with you my Emmaus road story.
My dear siblings, Christ is there with you, always. This is a time of many feelings and lamentations. We all process these feelings differently, but Jesus is here with us. I hope we can turn and see him in our hearts and open ourselves to be hugged by him. He’s got no Coronavirus! Amen.
Please pray with me,
Dear Jesus, you continue to walk with us on our journey. Help us in our doubts and touch us. Use whomever you want, like you used my mom’s friend so we may turn to you. Please hug us, reveal yourself to us as you did with those disciples at Emmaus, so we may share that love, even while keeping physical distance in love. This we pray in your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
Until next time stay with God’s blessing,
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace! Amen.
+ Bp. Pedro
Rev. Pedro Suarez, Bishop
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA
Thank you for sharing your story of loss. I lost my mom to cancer in 1964. I was 16, my sister 14, and my brother, 10. It was so difficult for my father. I was SO angry at God for a few years (!) and stopped going to church. But I always felt like something (Someone?) was missing. I was invited by a high school friend to attend Ascension Lutheran church in Milwaukee and decided to try it. That’s how I found out Jesus had always been with me, too. My faith exploded as I became more active! Now, to present day: I lost my beloved husband of 42 years a year ago this month due to the results of Agent Orange. I was not angry at God, but grateful for the people He put in my path to help me through it. I love my church, Peace Lutheran in Ft. Myers. I don’t know how people get through things like this without faith, and faithful people to help us get through it all. God bless you for this message of your road, and for allowing us to share ours.
Thank you for sharing your personal grieving and healing through the Road to Emmaus message. I experienced a similar situation and Christ’s presence following my father’s death by suicide when he was 56 1/2 while I was serving as a Pastor in Welcome, Minn. in 1980. My parents’ home was 60 miles away and it was Maundy Thursday.
Thank you for your pastoral sharing with your readers.
Byron Bunge, retired Chaplain and Pastor