Sunday, 26 April 2020 | Library of the Apostolic Palace
Today’s Gospel, which takes place on the day of the Passover, describes the episode of the two disciples of Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35). It is a story that begins and ends on the move. There is in fact, the outbound journey of the disciples who, saddened by the epilogue of Jesus’ story, leave Jerusalem and return home to Emmaus, walking some 11 kilometres. It is a journey that takes place during the day, much of it downhill. And there is the return journey: another 11 kilometres, but at nightfall, partly an uphill journey after the fatigue of the outward journey and the entire day. Two trips: one easy in daytime, and the other tiring at night. Yet the first takes place in sadness, the second in joy. In the first one, there is the Lord walking beside them, but they do not recognise him; in the second one they do not see him anymore, but they feel him near them. In the first they are discouraged and hopeless; in the second they run to bring the good news of the encounter with the Risen Jesus to the others.
The two different paths of those first disciples tell us, Jesus’ disciples today, that in life we have two opposite directions before us: there is the path of those who, like those two on the outbound journey, allow themselves to be paralysed by life’s disappointments and proceed sadly; and there is the path of those who do not put themselves and their problems first, but rather Jesus who visits us, and the brothers who await his visit, that is, our brothers who are waiting for us to take care of them. Here is the turning point: to stop orbiting around one’s self; the disappointments of the past, the unrealised ideals, the many bad things that have happened in our life. Very often we tend to keep going around and around…. To leave that behind and to go forward looking at the greatest and truest reality of life: Jesus lives, Jesus loves me. This is the greatest reality. And I can do something for others. It is a beautiful reality: positive, bright, beautiful! This is the turning point: to go from thoughts about I to the reality of my God; going — with another play on words — from “if” [se in Italian] to “yes” [sì in Italian]. From “if” to “yes”. What does this mean? “If he had freed us, if God had listened to me, if life had gone as I wanted, if I had this and that…”, in a tone of complaint. This “if” is not helpful, it is not fruitful. It helps neither us nor others. Here are our “ifs”, similar to those of the two disciples, whom however, move to a yes: “Yes, the Lord is alive, he walks with us. Yes, we continue our journey to announce it now, not tomorrow”. “Yes, I can do this for the people so that they may be happier, so that people may better themselves, to help many people. Yes, yes I can”. From “if” to “yes”, from complaints to joy and peace, because when we complain, we are not joyful; we are in the grey, greyness, that grey air of sadness. And this does not help nor allow us to grow well. From “if” to “yes”; from complaints to the joy of service.
SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Pope Benedict XVI
8 May 2011 | San Giuliano Park – Mestre
You are living in a context in which Christianity is presented as the faith which has accompanied the journey of many peoples down the ages even through persecutions and harsh trials. The many testimonies that have spread everywhere are an eloquent expression of this faith: churches, works of art, hospitals, libraries and schools; the actual environment of your cities, of the countryside and the mountains, is everywhere spangled with references to Christ. Yet today this existence of Christ risks being emptied of its truth and of its deepest content; it risks becoming a horizon that only superficially — and rather, in its social and cultural aspects — embraces life; it risks being reduced to a Christianity in which the experience of faith in the Crucified and Risen Jesus fails to illuminate the journey of life, as we have heard in today’s Gospel concerning the two disciples of Emmaus, who after the crucifixion of Jesus were going home immersed in doubt, sadness and disappointment. Unfortunately such an attitude is beginning to spread in your region too. This happens when today’s disciples drift away from the Jerusalem of the Crucified and Risen One, no longer believing in the power and in the living presence of the Lord. The problem of evil, sorrow and suffering, the problem of injustice and abuse, fear of others, of strangers and foreigners who come to our lands and seem to attack what we are, prompt Christians today to say sadly: we hoped that the Lord would deliver us from evil, from sorrow, from suffering, from fear, from injustice.
It is thus necessary for each and every one of us to let ourselves be taught by Jesus, as the two disciples of Emmaus were: first of all by listening to and loving the word of God read in the light of the Paschal Mystery, so that it may warm our hearts and illumine our minds helping us to interpret the events of life and give them meaning. Then it is necessary to sit at table with the Lord, to share the banquet with him, so that his humble presence in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood may restore to us the gaze of faith, in order to see everything and everyone with God’s eyes, in the light of his love. Staying with Jesus who has stayed with us, assimilating his lifestyle, choosing with him the logic of communion with each other, of solidarity and of sharing. The Eucharist is the maximum expression of the gift which Jesus makes of himself and is a constant invitation to live our lives in the Eucharistic logic, as a gift to God and to others.
SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
St. Pope John Paul II
18 April 1999 | CANONIZATION OF FR MARCELLIN CHAMPAGNAT,
FR GIOVANNI CALABRIA AND SR AGOSTINA PIETRANTONI
1. “He took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (Lk 24:30-31).
We have just heard again these words of Luke’s Gospel: they tell of Jesus’ meeting with two disciples who were on their way to the village of Emmaus, the very day of the Resurrection. This unexpected meeting brings joy to the hearts of the two discouraged travelers and rekindles their hope. The Gospel says that when they recognized him, they left “that same hour and returned to Jerusalem” (Lk 24:33). They felt the need to tell the Apostles about “what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35).
The desire to bear witness to Jesus arises in the hearts of believers from their personal encounter with him. This is what happened with the three new saints whom today I have the joy of raising to the glory of the altars: Marcellin Benoît Champagnat, Giovanni Calabria and Agostina Livia Pietrantoni. They opened their eyes to the signs of Christ’s presence: they adored him and received him in the Eucharist; they loved him in their neediest brethren; they recognized the signs of his saving plan in the events of daily life.
They listened to Jesus’ words and sought his companionship, feeling their hearts burning within them. What an indescribable attraction the Lord’s mysterious presence holds for those who accept him! This is what the saints experience. It is the same spiritual experience we can have as we travel the ways of the world toward our heavenly homeland. The Risen One also comes to meet us through his Word, revealing his infinite love to us in the sacrament of the Eucharistic Bread, broken for the salvation of all humanity. May the eyes of our spirit be opened to his truth and his love, as happened to Marcellin Benoît Champagnat, to Giovanni Calabria and to Sr Agostina Livia Pietrantoni.
2. “Did not our hearts burn within us while he opened to us the Scriptures?“. The burning desire for God in the disciples of Emmaus was vividly felt by Marcellin Champagnat, who was a priest captivated by the love of Jesus and Mary. Because of his unshakeable faith, he remained faithful to Christ despite difficulties, in the midst of a world sometimes lacking the sense of God. We too are called to draw strength from contemplation of the risen Christ by learning at the school of the Virgin Mary.
St Marcellin proclaimed the Gospel with a burning heart. He was sensitive to the spiritual and educational needs of his time, especially to religious ignorance and the situations of neglect experienced in a particular way by the young. His pastoral sense is an example for priests: called to proclaim the Good News, they must also be true teachers for young people who seek to give meaning to their lives, by accompanying each of them on their way and explaining the Scriptures to them. Fr Champagnat was also a model for parents and teachers, helping them to look with hope at young people, to love them with a total love which fosters their true human, moral and spiritual formation.
Marcellin Champagnat also invites us to be missionaries, to make Jesus Christ known and loved as the Marist Brothers did even in Asia and Oceania. With Mary as our guide and Mother, the Christian is a missionary and the servant of human beings. Let us ask the Lord to give us a heart that burns like that of Marcellin Champagnat, to recognize him and to be his witnesses.