Emmaus Story and COVID
Do we continue the streaming of Mass online after the COVID-19 restrictions? Perhaps the answer to this question can be derived from a reflection on the story of the couple who were going to Emmaus. Luke speaks of two people going from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus; they could be husband and wife. What the Gospel narrates about the experience of this couple is the experience of any Christian initiated into the Body of Christ, the Church.
On the way, this couple were discussing the scriptures. Though they were learned about the scriptures, nothing made much sense to them and they were walking into ‘darkness’ and trying to find refuge in their own little world, ‘home.’ But when Jesus joined them on the way and interpreted the Scriptures for them their hearts were set on fire. The first step of the pilgrimage to faith is to read and interpret the Bible through the eyes of Jesus. That initiates such an intense desire for Christ.
Towards the end of their journey the couple become open and hospitable. The next step is the actual turning point. Jesus ‘breaks bread’ with them. As soon as they are initiated into the Eucharist and they receive the Body of Christ, they become true and joyous disciples. As delighted disciples, they come out of their home to share the good news with the world. It is the participation in the Eucharist (Breaking of Bread) that makes you a true disciple. Encountering Jesus in the participation in the Eucharist keeps you as a disciple. Coming together to join in the Holy Communion at Eucharist keeps you as part of the Body of Christ, the Church.
This celebration of our true discipleship cannot be done properly during this time of restrictions. Therefore, as a stopgap, watching the Mass online, you cherish the nostalgia and have spiritual communion with Christ and his Body, the Church. Therefore, we continue the live streaming of Masses until such times when we can come together and celebrate our faith properly. Let us look forward to the day we can delightfully come together, break bread and praise God.
After COVID-19, perhaps we can continue to use the technology to study the Bible in an effective way and ‘set our hearts on fire.’ Until then, do not let the fire of faith diminish in your hearts and life.