The Walk to Emmaus

At our last gathering, we invited Julie Berggren, OFS to lead us in an afternoon of reflection. The heart of this reflection centered on the Walk to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35) For our brothers and sisters who were unable to attend, the reflection is provided here so that, while you might not have been with us physically, you can still share in this experience that helped bring our fraternity together in fellowship and love.

Begin by centering yourself. Dwell for a moment on the Presence of God around you, in every part of your body, within the depths of your being.

Read the following verse from Scripture, slowly. Do not read for understanding; rather, experience the Scripture by using your imagination. Place yourself in the scene, using your sense to bring the story alive:

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Luke 24:13-35. NRSV, Catholic Edition

What stirred in you as you experienced this passage? Reflect on one, some, or all of the questions below. You can use these questions as journal prompts, or you might want to discuss them with someone close to you.

  • Who has walked with you on your spiritual journey?
  • When you have felt that you were walking in God’s presence?
  • What are some significant moments in your faith journey?
  • When has your heart “burned within” you? Describe the situation or experience.

Community is an essential element in Franciscan spirituality. We cannot be Secular Franciscans is isolation; our fraternities “should be the privileged place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation and for enlivening the apostolic life of its members.” (OFS Rule #22). With this article of our rule in mind, what does this passage suggest to us as Secular Franciscans in terms of a

  • living faith (living the faith that grows over time);
  • explicit faith (personal relationship lived in the Christian community);
  • fruitful faith (Fruits of the Spirit–charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, modesty, self-control, and chastity–which lead to active outreach, social transformation, etc.?

Our aim as Third Order Franciscans is threefold: to make Jesus known and loved everywhere by living by example of our daily lives; by spreading the spirit of fellowship by working with people from every race, color, creed, education, and opportunity in order to break divisions in the world; and lastly, to live simply. We use the gifts God gives us wisely as good stewards of this tender earth and remember the needs of those around us.

If you feel inspired, please share your responses to these questions in the comments below; your comments might spark a lively discussion on how we live the Franciscan charism today.


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