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The Road of Encounter with Jesus


A Reflection on Lk 24:13-25

By Fr. DJ Garcia

We are all in the journey of life and the past weeks have not been easy for all of us. Caught in the storm of this COVID-19 pandemic we are suffering in varying degrees. We are lamenting the loss of lives, the restrictions of our movements and social distancing in our communities, economic misery, inept public officials, lack or delayed economic assistance, psychological stresses and other problems. Name your complaints and laments. Many of us are growing increasingly tired, frustrated, hurt, angry, scared, sad, and broke. We are stressed out or even losing hope. In this crisis, we might be asking, “Where is God?”

We are all familiar with today’s gospel…. The two disciples, leaving Jerusalem dejected by what transpired days before, and walking towards Emmaus., and how Jesus joined them on their journey and how he revealed himself in the Scriptures and in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus doesn’t reveal himself to the two disciples right away but waits. Why? Jesus is not testing the two disciples. He is, journeying with them. There he is, present, as they narrate their confusion and disappointment. He knows that explanations will not cure their slowness to believe. He lets them proceed one heavy step after another and only much later will he redirect them through the Scriptures and the breaking of the bread.

Where is God in all this pandemic? Just as he joined the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He is with us--- journeying with us in this precarious situation. He is present to us. He is listening to our laments--- our complaints and disappointments. He understands what we are feeling and does not rush in mitigating or minimizing our painful reality. He is being patient with us.

Lament takes time. And sometimes lament is the journey that would lead us to recognition and new life. In spite of the darkness and pain we are experiencing God is showing us the path to life. With our lament, hopefully we are also being purified and being re-oriented, of being able to realize what is important and essential, on what really matters. I hope that after this crisis, we would no longer go back to our former ways of living, that we will be renewed and live lives that would recognize that we are a family and that we are interdependent with one another.

Our Risen Lord walks alongside us patiently, whether we aware of it or not.

With this crisis, we are turning to God, more than ever, and rediscovering Him. The risen Lord, as always, continues to be present to us as he promised…. “I am always with you until the end of time”---- This faithful presence of Jesus continues to guide us, directing us in our daily life. More than ever, our faith challenges to recognize his abiding presence and allow this presence to illuminate and navigate us to live our faith in the vicissitudes of life.

In various ways and modes, the Lord remains present to us.

He is present to us in Scripture…. So whenever we listen read and reflect the word of God. Scripture is the story of the history of salvation in the events (whether these events be ordinary or extraordinary) in the life of God’s chosen people – the Israelites, and this salvation also extended to the Gentiles—to all of us. So in our daily events of our lives, even in the most mundane activities, God continues to makes Himself present and if necessary intervenes to save us. So the ordinary events in our lives--- our daily actions and even our conversations, with one another holds a potential to mediate the presence and grace of God.

He is present to us in the sacred species of the eucharist…. (and even though we are limited at this time to receive him in spiritual communion--- he remains present--- his powerful presence transcends matter and space}And just as the eucharist is the meal of God’s abiding presence- our normal day-to-day meals with our families and with one another, holds the potential to mediate the presence and grace of God.

The Lord is faithfully present in the daily events of our lives. Let us open our minds and hearts to the various ways by which the Risen Lord wishes to encounter us and let that encounter, hopefully inflame our hearts, to live our lives with hope and likewise, be bearers of hope by allowing ourselves to be God’s presence to others.

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