Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
The disciples who were on the road to Emmaus had put all their hope in Jesus who they only somewhat knew and yet they were deeply saddened when he died on the cross. Jesus’ death did not enter into the framework of their understanding of him and his mission, therefore all their hopes seemed to die with him. We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel they said. However, as with the disciples of Emmaus, Jesus is the one who walks along with us in this valley of tears, difficulties, doubts and disillusionment, listening to us and our hopes for a better future, which God does provide to those who seek him with faith.
The encounters with the Risen Lord eliminated all fear and doubt for the disciples, who finally began to understand Jesus’ true mission, when he explained it to them. Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? Jesus explained to the disciples and hence to us, that the Messiah had to suffer. Suffering and death was part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. God did not abandon his Son, but glorified him through his passion, death and resurrection. People are so reluctant even today to accept suffering of any kind and so much effort is made to avoid the most harmless pain and the smallest sacrifices. But for those who wish to follow the path of Christ, it is suffering that leads to liberation, a deeper love of and union with Christ.
Stay with us, were the words of the disciples who listened carefully to Jesus while he explained the scriptures to them and their hearts were burning within them. They then recognized him in the breaking of bread. God can be recognized by those who seek him in purity of heart, who eat the Bread of Heaven and approach him with the eyes of faith. By listening to the word of God with our hearts and breaking or sharing our bread with others, we too can come to realize that Christ is alive today, living amongst us. We will then be able to recognize his presence in our brothers and sisters with whom we share our lives, especially those in need.