Today's Gospel is a familiar Easter tale. The disciples on the way to Emmaus has great significance for us - beyond the simple meaning of the narrative, and we do well to listen.
First, the two are walking away from Jerusalem. In our Judeo-Christian tradition, Jerusalem holds great meaning. It is the place of the Temple, the dwelling place of God. It is the heart of worship for the Jews of Jesus' time; and it is the place where our redemption is accomplished. The fact that these two are walking away from there is telling. They are disappointed, "downcast," lost, defeated. What they expected had not come to pass, so they are ready now to pack up and leave.
Jesus comes to them and patiently listens to their story. The careful reader can feel Christ's giddiness to share the real truth with them, but for now He is content to simply abide with them in their sorrow.
These two might be very much like us - as we come to Mass and then head home. What have we seen? What have we done? What does that mean? Does it even make a difference to us?
The two disciples had just experienced the entire Paschal Mystery - all of it. They were there for Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem; they were there for His preparation for the Passover, for His arrest, for His trial, and for His crucifixion. In fact, by their own admission, they were there to hear the words of the women who told them that He was alive! That is the whole Paschal Mystery right there, and these two lived right through it!!
And what is their response to this great Mystery?
"Woe is me."
"Bummer. Let's head to Emmaus."
Friends, this is exactly what happens at Mass. We come together and dwell with Christ. We share the Word and encourage each other. We experience the Paschal Mystery in the celebration of the Eucharist. And then, what do we do?
"Where are my keys?"
"I wonder who texted me during Mass."
"Come on, Dunkin Donuts is getting crowed."
Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is Risen and is dwelling among us here!
This is why I don't buy the secular cop-out of "I-find-God-on-the-golf-course." If you really found God - truly found God - then you would never leave the golf course. If I found God in nature, in a forest, then I would buy that forest, set up a tiny house, and live there forever.
And here we are at Mass, touching the very living Christ who feeds us. Here, Jesus opens the Scriptures for us and breaks the Bread. He knows your boredom; He knows your disappointment; He knows you.
Our response to this incredible encounter should be like those disciples. They were no longer content to stay at Emmaus that evening. They ran - seven miles! - back to Jerusalem, back to the others, and shared their joy!
Are your hearts burning yet?