19 April 2017

Christians of the Holy Land retrace the steps of Jesus and of His disciples on the road to Emmaus

We know that shortly after being risen, Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, not far from Jerusalem .... that is where we are going!

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The Sacred Scriptures tell us that the Risen Jesus appeared to the disciples who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a small village about 11 kilometers away from the Holy City.

Custos of the Holy Land
"Luke recounts the episode occurred on Easter day: in the evening, the disciples arrived here with Jesus, who explained the Scriptures to them and helped them understand that His Passion, Death and Resurrection are part of the mystery of salvation ... the two disciples invited Him to stay, without recognizing Him yet, but when Jesus broke the bread, their eyes finally opened: they recognized Him and returned to Jerusalem to tell everyone about the encounter with the Risen One.”

On Monday after Easter, this biblical episode was relived by the Franciscans and the pilgrims who filled the Shrine of Emmaus for a Mass presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton.

Custos of the Holy Land
"Today we are definitely celebrating the disciples' journey on the road to Emmaus, their listening to Jesus who explains the Scriptures and our possibility to recognize Him when he breaks the bread for us in the Eucharist"

The Latin parish priest of Jerusalem explained that it was not by chance that Luke, in his recount of this episode, omits the name of one of the disciples.

Latin parish priest of Jerusalem
"When Luke, the Evangelist, recounts this episode, he always mentions the name of only one of the disciples: Cleopas. He never mentions the name of the other disciple... This means that each of us is the other disciple: we are 'the other disciple' every time we meet Jesus in the Eucharist.”

At the end of the celebration, hundreds of loaves were blessed and distributed to the guests, after which all were invited to lunch together.

Custos of the Holy Land
"The Breaking of the bread during the Eucharist is important, however, it is equally important in our everyday life, otherwise we would be keeping this event only as a liturgical ritual, whereas Easter means transforming our lives. On this day, we celebrate Christ who shares everything with us, including His victory over death, His divinity. This must motivate us to live as risen people who are also able to joyfully share Christ's resurrection, to witness the beauty of being able to walk through history along with Jesus, knowing that He will accompany us even when we do not recognize Him at first."