In many Christian liturgies this weekend we hear the story of The Road to Emmaus.

I’d like to think that this story happened exactly as Luke depicted it. There is real suspense in knowing that Jesus is the one walking with the two men, and that they have no idea it’s him. Why or how this is possible is not really the point of the story. In one sense, the story is about the well-known ending, the final reveal.

By the time Luke wrote down this story, the followers of Jesus had been gathering at table for some time. They had come to see their sharing bread and wine together as a holy thing, a sacred thing, a communion with and remembrance of their friend and Lord — Jesus. And so this story is both an affirmation of what they had been doing for a long time and an encouragement to keep on recognizing Jesus in the breaking of the bread. It is no different for us.

In many ways, this story teaches us truths about the spiritual life.

First, our spiritual life is a kind of journey, an active thing, a moving down a path toward a destination.

Secondly, on this journey we are not alone. We have each other, but most importantly we have Jesus, our God, who is making the journey with us.

And thirdly, Jesus wants nothing more than to commune with us, be with us, teach us and guide us. He wants us to experience full lives of joy and meaning and peace. He knows how beautiful our lives can be, knows that our lives will be so much richer if we can see him in our midst, recognize him at this table and in these holy texts, recognize him in the joys AND sorrows — and maybe most importantly — recognize him in one another.

But we have to keep walking with our guide. Too often we get kind of stagnant, or lazy, distracted or weary from the challenges of daily living. Because of that we pause on our journey. We stop searching. We stop wondering about the mysteries of life. We stop asking the big questions. We stop listening and stop following. Then we wonder why we aren’t experiencing life to the fullest, wonder why we seem to missing out on so much. In the background, with a love for us beyond all understanding, God waits for us.

Most journeys come to an end. But our spiritual journeys really never end.

Every day God invites us to walk with him , to journey to Emmaus with him; so that he can be with us and speak to us and open our eyes to see the God in our midst — see God in every person and in every situation and even in this sacred meal we share.

The journey doesn’t end in Emmaus, just like it didn’t end for the two disciples. Rather, having encountered Jesus, they couldn’t wait to bring that Good News to others. Perhaps we can do the same. Are we walking with Jesus? Or have we stopped on the journey — distracted or tired or caught up in the trappings of our day-to-day lives?

Life can be an incredible experience, filled with wonder and joy and beauty, if we have the right guide. Let’s strive to be true people of faith and let Jesus be our guide — and allow him to open our eyes to all the wonderful things he wants to show us.

Deacon Stuart Neslin is a Parish Deacon and Parish Administrator at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rome.

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