Sunday, 4/30/17 – Disciples on the Way to Emmaus

Road to EmmausIn the gospel reading today, two of Jesus’s disciples were traveling to Emmaus.  It is good to stop for a moment and reflect on the fact that there were no solitary Christians in the readings for mass today, and there is a very good reason for that.  Our faith is meant to be shared with one another in our every day lives with our family and friends, and at work, but also in the life of the church.

There are many people who volunteer their time in different ministries of service within the church or the communities that they live in.   Many volunteers mainly see volunteering as a period of time they set aside to serve the Lord, by serving other people.  For an example, many people serve at Mass each week, teach the children about the Catholic faith in religious education programs, or help out in a local soup kitchen or food bank.  These ministries of service are very much needed, but there is a lot more to ministry than just the time we spend volunteering.

In the gospel reading today we read that the two disciples were traveling together to Emmaus.  Jesus also sent his disciples out in pairs to preach the good news too.   Jesus’s disciples were personally involved in one another’s life.  They prayed together, served others together, traveled together and ate some of their meals with one another.  In fact, when you think of Christ’s disciples, it is always in the plural sense.

People need one another.  This is especially true in our church.  Our fellow parishioners enjoy being of service to others and they are very generous with their time, money and resources.  However, many Catholics seem like they are not aware that there is a secondary dimension to ministry, which is to form a sense of community within the church itself.  In fact, people often volunteer their time hoping to make some new friends in the church.  Single people, the elderly, widows, divorced parishioners, and empty-nesters whose adult children left home will often volunteer in the church, hoping to make a personal connection with others and perhaps make a new friend.  Our circumstances in life do change over time and our parish community can be such a support during the entire span of our lives.

The next time you encounter someone new at church, it might be a good thing to invite them to volunteer in a ministry you are involved with, or another activity like praying the rosary with your small group.  If you already participate in the life of the church, it is good not to just associate with those you have known a long time, but to reach out to new people as well.  Ministries are not cohesive and thriving without the bond of friendships.  It means the world to someone who is a bit lonely, if they are asked to go for a cup of coffee, or to eat lunch with you, or if they are invited to go to a retreat or conference that you are planning to attend.  If we are too busy to take time for others in the ministries that we serve in, then we are just too busy.  It would be better to spend less time volunteering, and spend more quality time with all those that we serve or volunteer with.  In the long run it could do a lot more good for everyone involved and it is such a powerful, genuine witness to our Catholic faith.

When Jesus walked with his disciples on the trip to Emmaus and their conversation ended, he indicated that he was going further then they were.  The disciples asked him to stay with them and have supper, so he changed his mind.  If they had not invited him to dinner, they would not have never known him in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus knew that they needed him to stay with them just a little bit longer, after discussing the scriptures, so Jesus made time for them.  He is a powerful role model for all of us to make time for others in our lives, including those that we volunteer with.  The disciples are role models for us too, because they took the initiative to reach out to this “stranger” on the road and invite him to dinner.

We miss out on so many wonderful opportunities for friendship, a sense of community and a sense of belonging, if we think we are too busy to take time out for these things.  Jesus took time out to be with his disciples, just because they asked him to.  The next time you serve in your church or your community, it would be good to also notice the needs of those you serve with, as much as those whom you serve.  Our small groups and ministries are actually a small church, within a church.

For many people, it is impossible to get to know everyone in a really large parish.  That is why small groups are so important, because they form church communities, within the larger church itself.  We are just one brick in the structure of the church and we might not be able to see the entire structure of the Body of Christ all at once that we are connected to, but we can see Jesus Christ reflected in the faces of all of those around us.

 

About the Author

Welcome to A Catholic Moment! My name is Laura Kazlas and I'm the creator and founder of A Catholic Moment. Catholics read a lot of different things on the internet these days, but this website is a place for Catholics to read, reflect, and discuss the daily readings for Mass. Our website is run entirely by a group of volunteer writers who have a genuine love for the scriptures that we have for Mass each day. I was personally raised by atheists, but came to believe in God and was baptized because of the words in sacred scripture. I later became a Catholic because of the Mass. The first time my husband took me to Mass, I thought it was the most holy, beautiful sense of worshiping God that I had ever experienced. I still do. My husband John and I have been married for 30 years. We have a son, a daughter, two granddaughters, and a cat. I currently serve as the coordinator of Catholic prison ministry in the Archdiocese of Portland Oregon, in the USA.

Author Archive Page

6 Comments

  1. Laura, I think you meant that the disciples were discussing the events of the day , not the scriptures, they were not written yet.

  2. They were discussing the Hebrew Scriptures. It is a good question how much they knew about them as they may not have been able to read and had no printing press. But they had the rabbis and the teachers and the temple kept the scrolls.

  3. Thank you, Laura, for the wonderful reminder that we are ministers also to those WITH whom we serve! A cup of coffee or a breakfast at McDonalds with fellow volunteeers may on some days end up being more significant to someone than the the actual “work” we are doing. And you are so right – if we are too busy to make time for them, then we are just too busy! Jesus always seemed to have time ….. Thank you! I will carry that thought with me more deliberately now!

  4. Thank you, Laura this wonderful Reflection the GOOD LORD has asked you to share with us. May HOLY SPIRIT actually lead us to make it an obligation to share our LIVES with one another

  5. This has always been a favorite scripture of mine, but made me see it in a new way. The disciples needed to hear more from Jesus; they were not just being polite. The social aspect of our work is so important, not just with our friends and favorites, but with strangers too. Thanks for a new insight!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.