A young couple receives the wonderful news that they are pregnant. But their joy soon becomes a nightmare. Her severe morning sickness debilitates her; her doctor discovers the child is in distress and plans for the worst. She is confined to bed for the duration of her pregnancy. The dad-to-be is overwhelmed by it all. Unable to offer any meaningful help to his wife or his child, he buries himself in everything but accomplishes little.
But along the way, their parents – gently and quietly – cover many of the day-to-day details; they check in regularly with encouragement and advice, allaying many of their fears. Co-workers at his office take off his desk as many things as they can. And, under the radar, members of their parish organize to provide supper a few nights a week.
And they manage. After a long, painful, terrifying few months, they welcome their little girl, healthy and whole. And, along the way, the new parents discover again how much they love each other and the beautiful little family they have created.
And they realize, too, what their love means to those around them.
We have all had our fair share of Emmaus like experiences, experiences of fear, confusion, dread, and worry; but along the way we realize our eyes are opened to Christ travelling with us on the road.
We see Him in the love and support of family and friends, in our communities, in our parish. Easter faith is about recognizing the Risen one among us. It is recognizing that despite our brokenness, the moments we may have more questions than answers, the moments of life’s frustrations, the Lord is never far from us.
It has been suggested that the reason that the men did not recognize Jesus is because they were walking toward the sunset. If you have ever been in a car traveling west at sunset, you know what that is like.
But the Christian is the one who travels not toward the sunset but rather toward the sun rising. The Christian moves onward not to a night which fails but to a dawn of new possibilities. This is the Easter promise and the Easter hope.