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  • Writer's pictureRose D

Exploring the Road to Emmaus: The Challenges of our own Transformation

Today on the 3rd Sunday of Easter we hear what happens after two disciples return to Jerusalem to recount their experience with the risen Jesus. They initially leave Jerusalem defeated and saddened by the death of Jesus, and then encounter Jesus who they don’t recognize on the road to Emmaus. Is it their fear,disappointment and grief that blind them to his presence? Confused and excited, they return to Jerusalem and to the Apostles to report their encounter, and again Jesus reveals himself  to them as fully alive and, “then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

It is a very neat and tidy story with Jesus doing all the heavy lifting, all the work and we can rejoice.Thanks Jesus, you are tortured,crucified and rose from the dead, and now I can go about the business of living my life.  Is that all there is to Easter? I don’t think so, I hope not. 

Similar to Lenten sacrifices as a gateway to a relationship with God, Easter is also a jumping off point. Jesus gives us his life as the example of how he wants us to live.  Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus associating with and loving those who are marginalized, those who are outcasts.  We don’t see him seeking power, fame or money. Instead we see him reaching out to those who have little status, money or power, but what they do have is an openness to transformation, to hear his words and change their lives. And transformation might be the hardest choice we have to make because we have been given so much. Many of us have plenty of physical comforts: a car,a temperature controlled home, plenty of food and clothes, a job, time and money for a vacation. We are comfortable. And comfort is rarely a place for transformation, and often a place we don’t want to leave. Which is why most of us come by transformation only by the parts of life we don’t have control over. We can’t control death, illness,accidents or other people. Even in those experiences we are not forced to change, we are only invited. We can refuse to change, we can become angry or resentful that life did not work out according to our plan. Transformation is always an invitation, and it can be scary and risky.

The road to Emmaus, (and Easter) is not a dead end but a story of transformation. The disciples of Jesus were willing to follow him, hear his words, and be changed. What is Jesus’s invitation on our personal road to Emmaus? Or, as Mary Oliver asks in her poem “The Summer Day”:

"Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?"

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