Today we hear the familiar story of the disappointed, downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus.
What does Jesus do in this encounter? First He comes to them, draws near, and simply walks with them like a friend. He starts to converse with them and ask questions. Then he goes deeper. He opens Scripture for them and breaks bread with them.
Their eyes and ears are opened, and their hearts are warmed throughout the encounter. They’re brought back to a place of hope. Jesus is with them again. Though, He always was.
We’re on that same road to Emmaus when we find ourselves disappointed and lacking hope on this faith journey, when we lose sight of seeing Jesus walking with us down that road.
Like the disciples, Jesus meets us in those moments and He does the same things He does for the disciples. He comes to us, draws close, walks with us, speaks with us, opens Scripture and points us to verses that help us understand, and nourishes us with His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
I have found this to be true in my own life. Every time I’ve felt these feelings and am walking down the road of losing hope, Jesus has come closer to me in my everyday life or in prayer. I’ve found comfort in some verse of the Word that speaks to me poignantly in that moment. And/or I’ve found nourishment at Mass or in Adoration unexpectedly.
Jesus does for me what He did for the disciples. He transforms their discouraged hearts into warmed hearts. He helps me see again and hear again.
I’m reminded of the song by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton, “There was Jesus” that has been dear to me for several years. In the song, they exclaim that Jesus has been with them through everything they’ve lived through, especially those lonely, dark patches of life:
“All those lonely roads that I have traveled on, there was Jesus…
In the waiting, in the searching, in the healing and the hurting, like a blessing buried in the broken pieces. Every minute, every moment, where I’ve been and where I’m going. Even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t see it, there was Jesus.
On the mountain, in the valleys, there was Jesus. In the shadows, in the alleys, there was Jesus. In the fire, in the flood, there was Jesus. Always is and always was.
No, I never walk alone. You were always there.”
If you’re looking for hope in the midst of disappointment and discouragement, may you too see that Jesus is walking beside you and trying to warm your heart.