The way to Emmaus is the path of the Christian Life. Luke 24:12-25. Matinal Gospel 5

This gospel is always read on Bright Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on it from our archives.

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/matins-gospel-05_2002-06-03+the-road-to-emmaus.html

 I want to tell you something about this Gospel.  This matinal Gospel is not only a recounting of sacred history; it is also a type or a template for the Christian life.  It is an example of how we should live, and what we should expect!  For spiritual edification, we can look at this story in an allegorical way and glean much benefit from it. 

 

This story shows very clearly the path of the Christian life.  The two apostles of the 70, on the way to Emmaus, were very disheartened, they were frightened, they were beat down, but they were not without faith.  They did not understand (they did not believe that Christ was risen you know), but in some way they still had faith and the desire to know our Savior and serve Him. 

 

So, our Lord meets them on the way.  Imagine this picture!  Two disheartened, frightened men are walking in the heat of the day, to a city that is a full day’s journey away, no knowing really what tomorrow would bring, but certainly suspecting that it would bring the point of a sword.  Our Lord comes to them, and speaks to them on the way, and they don’t see Him and don’t know Him.  Their eyes were holden that they could not see Him. 

 

This is the way that it is for us so many times, brothers and sisters.  We walk, on a long journey on the way, and many times we do not see.  We only know by faith, we only know by our sure convictions, and something that is in our heart that warms us, and we know that we are following the true path.  And, even if we cannot conquer a sin, or don’t know the purpose of this or that, or the reason why something is happening to us or to a loved one, we still walk on the way.   

http://01varvara.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/vasili-belyaev-the-dinner-at-emmaus-church-on-the-blood-st-petersburg.jpgThis is the way that Christ walks.  We must walk with Christ!  We must be in the way in which He walks, just like the apostles, just like the blind men[1].  This is a long way, and the day is indeed far spent before God fully reveals Himself to us.  This will be at the end of the age, but a foretaste of this revealing, a true "piece" of it, as it were, is in the breaking of bread.  Our Lord enlightened His two disciples in the breaking of bread, and they saw Who He was. To this day, he is revealed to us in the breaking of bread, that is the Eucharist, but we realize this distinctly only after we have walked many miles with Him, with faith.

 

What happened?  The day was far spent, the sun was setting, and they were tired.  It would be a long and dangerous trip back, and there are robbers on the road, and what did they do?  They made haste to go back, taking hours and hours, arriving in the wee hours of the morning, way past midnight, and the other apostles were up, who said He has appeared unto Simon; He is risen.  And they corroborated this with their own testimony. 

 

The two disciples were Luke, who wrote this gospel, and Cleophas, who was the brother of St. Joseph the Betrothed.  He wrote with conviction, just like St. John wrote, who said "what I say is true."[2]  He wrote this way because he saw, and he believed, and he experienced and he believed.  This seeing and experiencing can only be accomplished when we may a great effort to walk in the heat of the day, struggling against our hot passions. 

 

This gospel is a deep mine.  We can extract many golden nuggets from it, and they will make us rich, because they will show us how to live.  Even in the midst of what is wrong with us, it shows us how to live.  It shows us what will happen if we follow on that road and on that journey.  It contains historical fact, but more importantly, it contains spiritual fact.  It is what God will do to a man.  He will enlighten him, and make him able to see, over the course of time.  God help us to be on this road until the end of our life, so that we would see, in the end completely and clearly, not in a glass darkly, but face to face, crying "Abba, Father", and being called "friend".  God bless you. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

[1] Cf. Matthew 20:30

 

 

[2] Cf. John 19:35, paraphrased.

 

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2 Responses to “The way to Emmaus is the path of the Christian Life. Luke 24:12-25. Matinal Gospel 5”

  1. Deborah says:

    Father, Bless,

    You’ve provided me with another metaphor/analogy for my recent experiences. Throughout the process of my baptism I was experiencing it almost as a spectator, listening and watching, with my heart burning inside, but still as one who doesn’t quite grasp what is happening. It was not until in the presence of the Eucharist for the first time that I became suddenly aware of the purpose for all that had gone before, all my long journeying and struggles, and was overwhelmed by the recognition of the Presence of Christ–catching a very brief but brighter and clearer glimpse of Him than ever before.

    Now I return to the journey, running along the Path in the night to tell others what has happened–some will know what I am talking about, some will believe and others will think I am ‘on something’ —it does not matter. The memory of that moment remains and is renewed in each new encounter with the precious Savior.

  2. “in some way they still had faith and the desire to know our Savior and serve Him.”

    - I was thinking about this episode, I thought of it quite often. And I though also that they definitely had faith inside their hearts. Because they had a Meeting in their lives. If a person meets Christ at least once – not in an artificial way, not by the influence of circumstances, not by the impulse which forces him to seek refuge or just a consolation, but when he recognizes Christ with all his soul, this state, this new feeing is the beginning of a new life for him, of a new perception of life & the world itself. Also, I heard the expression that a soul is a Christian by its nature (and it makes sense, as it is given to us by God), and when a person meets anyone who carries inside him the fire of God’s love, he will recognize it, and will try to keep relations with such a person, or at least be at his presence – in the extent the circumstances allow; and will be grateful to God or this blissful opportunity. This is what I think these two apostles felt. They did not recognize Christ in the person who accompanied them, but they felt that flame, and their hearts were burning in His presence…

    - When I think of it, I also remember Christ’s words that where 2 or 3 gather in honor of His name, He will be among them. Maybe this does not directly refer to this Gospel episode, but I remember these words when I read it or evoke it in my memory.

    - “This seeing and experiencing can only be accomplished when we may a great effort to walk in the heat of the day, struggling against our hot passions”. Father, how I feel the truth of these words! How often we try to get everything & at once, unwilling to endure at least a little, having no patience, no humility. And we fall in disillusionment, even despair when we don’t get what we want. We forget that the Gifts of the Saint Spirit cannot be obtained from the “back entrance’. And if we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that this is what we seek…not to be forgiven & saved, but these Gifts – being totally unworthy not only of them, but of these 2 principal things…

    - This episode also returns me to my perception of faith itself…I hear now that people speak much about upbringing of children in the faith, about attracting people to Orthodoxy, about Church “modernization”, trying to adopt it to their earthy needs & making it “convenient” to them (they express it all in another way, of course – “closer to people”. I hate this approach. WE have to be closer to the Church (of course, if we want to be saved & reign with Christ, and not just simply be enlisted as Orthodox members & enjoy our participation in “windowdressing”, treating Church as a “ceremony service center”) . I feel it another way (this is only my personal point of view, which I experienced): in the upbringing & attraction the main thing which is hard to underestimate is a personal example. A person should sea the light of Christ in the eyes of another person, and nothing attracts more than a godly life of another person. And if we speak about upbringing of anyone, and if we do not lead the life corresponding to what we try to put in into somebody’s head – it will be nothing but hypocrisy, and may lead to an opposite result. And all words & appeals will leave unheard if the one pronouncing them does not have a practical understanding of these words. If the words remain empty, they fade away with the wind quickly. These apostles, Luke & Cleophas, were near Christ, they heard His words, full of strength & wisdom, and this is why they believed, and their hearts were burning when He spoke to them. This is why they could not be mistaken. They recognized the Truth.

    This gospel is really bottomless, and it’s possible to think & write about it so much more!

    Thank you, Father!

    If we live a worthy life, if we labour a little to extract thorns from our heart, if we fight without fear for our soul, looking always at our Lord, Who is always with us, but Whom we do not notice due to our spiritual blindness, – some day He will join us on our way, and we’ll see Him.

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