Thursday, April 8, 2010

In Christ alone does life find its fullest meaning (Wednesday in the Octave of Easter, Luke 24:13-35)

The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus tells of two men who were walking towards the sunset. It has been suggested that that is the very reason why they did not recognize Jesus. Emmaus was west of Jerusalem. The sun was sinking, and the setting sun so dazzled them that they did not know their Lord.

However that may be, it is true that the Christian is a person who walks not towards the sunset but towards the sunrise. When Israel was still wandering in the desert after leaving Egypt, they were told to journey not towards the sunset but towards the sunrise. (Num.21:11.) The Christian goes onwards in life, not to a night which falls, but to a dawn which breaks—and that is what, in their sorrow and their disappointment, the two disciples on the Emmaus road had not realized.

But the story also tells us of the ability of Jesus to make sense of things. The whole situation seemed to these two disciples to have no explanation. Their hopes and dreams were shattered. There is all the poignant, wistful, bewildered regret in the world in their sorrowing words, "We were hoping that he was the one who was going to rescue Israel."

They were the words of men whose hopes were dead and buried. Then Jesus came and talked with them, and the meaning of life became clear and the darkness became light. A story-teller makes one of his characters say about the one with whom he has fallen in love, "I never knew what life meant until I saw it in her eyes." It is only in Christ that, even in the bewildering times, we learn what life truly means.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)