One of the readings for Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord, is the account of Cleopas and the unnamed disciple on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). I love this reading, for it is a perfect example of Jesus’ loving presence even when we are not aware that he is near, that he is with us. Jesus approaches the downtrodden disciples and basically asks them, "why so blue?" Well, specifically he asks, "What are you discussing with each other as you walk along?" (24:17). In his sadness, Cleopas begins to explain the events of the crucifixion, while Jesus, with a well-timed question, draws out of them what they need to express. It is clear that Cleopas and his friend are stuck in the past-tense: "but we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel" (24:21). Hoped, not hope. Cleopas says this even in light of the report of the resurrection brought by some of the women to the apostles and the other disciples, which he dutifully passes on to Jesus. Jesus continues walking with them, explaining himself through the Scriptures, but they do not recognize him. Finally, in the breaking of the bread, their eyes are opened, the eyes of faith, and they recognize Jesus, the Lord, resurrected from the dead. They return to Jerusalem to join with the other members of the Church, and find that they too know that the Lord is risen. He has conquered death forever. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is now. It is not past-tense. It is present-tense. It is hope. And so he is with us even now.
John W. Martens