From the Pastor – April 26, 2020

short daily prayersAs they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” (Lk 24:28-31a)

In 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II announced a special “Year of the Eucharist, and issued the Apostolic Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine, declaring the special year and outlining its purpose. It remains one of my favorite of his letters.

The Latin title “Mane nobiscum Domine is translated “remain with us, Lord,” and recalls the words in today’s Gospel spoken by the disciples on the road to Emmaus as they entreated the Lord, hidden in the person of a Traveler, to remain with them.  The image of these disciples on the way to Emmaus served as a fitting guide for us as many are unable to receive the Eucharist because of the risks of spreading COVID19.  We fear Jesus is going to walk away, and we want Him to remain.

But even during our current times trials and tribulations, the Divine Traveler continues to walk at our side, opening the Scriptures to us and leading us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God.  He desires to be with us not only in eternity but especially as we respond to the fulfillment of his promise to “be with us always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).

Amid the darkness of the evening after the Crucifixion, the Traveler brought a ray of light that rekindled the hope of the Emmaus disciples, and led their hearts to yearn for the Divine Light itself.  “Remain with us,” they pleaded.  And the Traveler agreed. And soon afterwards, the face of Christ would disappear; yet the Master would “remain” with them, hidden in the “breaking of the bread” which had opened their eyes to recognize him.

During the worldwide pandemic, we should reflect on our hunger for the Bread of Life.  We know that Jesus remains with us in the Eucharist which is always in the tabernacles of St. Stephen, St Henry and Our Lady of Good Counsel churches. Even if we can’t receive Him at Mass, He has remained, and we can still enter into Spiritual Communion while watching our televised Masses.

As we approach the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ on June 14, we are called to spend some time contemplating the two travelers on the road to Emmaus.  Their journey from disappointment (Penitential Rite), to understanding God’s word (Liturgy of the Word), to seeing Jesus in the breaking of the bread (Liturgy of the Eucharist) to going out and proclaiming that He is alive (Dismissal) is the journey we follow each time we attend Mass.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty