instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The road to Emmaus is the road to Jerusalem

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus.

I heard an excellent homily on last Sunday's Gospel reading. It hinged on the point that Emmaus lies to the west of Jerusalem.

Just as East is the direction of the rising sun, and of light and clarity -- and the direction Jews and Christians alike face to pray to God -- so West is the direction of shadows and confusion, the direction of those moving away from God.
The two disciples of Emmaus, then, weren't merely going home, they were going in the wrong direction. Yet God finds them and joins them on the road, invites them into a conversation, and -- as long as they listen -- explains Himself to them.

Jesus was even prepared to go further into the west, but the disciples urged Him, "Stay with us." So He did, and He made Himself known to them.

What happened next? The two disciples got up, left their home though it was evening (the beginning of a new day), and traveled back to the east, back to the holy city of God, back toward the truth and light and clarity, to share their story with the other disciples of Jesus.

This Gospel passage, then, can be abstracted into an archetypal journey:
  1. In times of doubt and trouble, we turn away and travel alone along shadowy and confusing paths.
  2. Jesus comes and finds us on these paths, inviting us into a conversation with Him.
  3. If we listen to Jesus, even though we continue to wander, the wisdom of God will ignite our hearts within us.
  4. We must, we must, invite Jesus to stay with us, even if we aren't in a place suitable for Him. (Jesus was born in a stable; He's used to staying in dirty places.)
  5. When Jesus has restored and healed us, we return to the company of the Church, to give Him glory and share His goodness.