An Easter Homily on the Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

Lent 2014: Readings from Augustine

He enters with them, becomes their guest, and he who throughout that journey was not recognized is recognized in the breaking of the bread. Learn to receive guests, where Christ is recognized. Don’t you know that if you receive a Christian, you receive him? Did he not say, “I was a guest, and you took me in”? And when he was asked, “Lord, when did we see you a guest?”, he answered, “When you did it for the least of my brethren, you did it for me” (Mt 25:35, 38, 40). When a Christian receives a Christian, then, members are serving members, and the head rejoices and regards as given to him what was given to a member of his. Let a hungry Christ be fed here, a thirsty Christ be given drink, a naked Christ be clothed, a foreigner Christ be taken in, an ill Christ be visited. These are needs that arise on the journey. This is how we are to live in this foreign condition, where Christ is in need. He is needy in his own; he is full in himself. But he who is needy in his own, and full in himself, draws the needy to himself. There will be no hunger there, there will be no thirst, there will be no nakedness, there will be no illness, there will be no foreignness, there will be no toil, there will be no pain.

I know the things that will not be there, but as for what we are to find there, “no eye has seen nor ear heard nor has it entered the heart of man” (1 Cor 2:9). We can love; we can desire; in this foreignness we can long for so great a good, but we cannot think worthily of it nor explain it in words. At least, I cannot. So, brothers and sisters, look for one who can. If you can find someone, pull me along with you as a disciple. I do know this, that “he who is able,”as the Apostle says, “to do far more than we ask or understand” (Eph 3:20) will bring people there where will happen what is written, “Blessed are they who dwell in your house; forever and ever they will praise you” (Ps 83, 5). Our whole activity will be the praise of God. What shall we praise if we shall not love? And shall we love what we shall see? We shall see the truth, and the truth will be the God whom we shall praise. There we shall find what today we have sung. Amen. It is true. Alleluia. Praise God. (Sermon 236, 3; PL 38, 1121-1122)

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About the Author

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.