Holy Week 2013

Easter Day

As most liturgists and worshippers alike seem to run out of steam after the Easter morning Resurrection celebrations, perhaps the commemoration of Luke's Emmaus narrative should be fully celebrated on the Octave of Easter as a Feast in its own right because it ties up all the loose ends in a way that no other Evangelist attempts.

It has often been said that this account is a liturgy: Jesus meets with his people (the gathering), explain s the Scriptures (The liturgy of the Word), breaks bread (The liturgy of the Eucharistic Sacrament) and, finally, a kind of dismissal; but that liturgy in itself represents a much broader theological framework: the Old Testament which we invoke as the Easter Vigil is accorded inviolable precursor status to the Incarnation, as Jesus works his way through the key passages, explaining how they relate to his presence; the Institution of the Eucharist on the day of Jesus' arrest is under-written on the very day of his Resurrection; and that rising from the dead is most clearly depicted, not in a trick of the light nor a blink of an eye but in a walking, teaching Jesus who is simultaneously made known to his 'ordinary' followers simultaneously in his own self and in the breaking of the bread as his own self. The Gospels without Emmaus would leave us in the ambivalent state in which we have lived through Holy Week, and even on Easter morning, but Emmaus closes off any unreasonable doubt. But doubt there will still be because in interacting with the divine we are necessarily left with a communications gap, what philosophers call a category mis-match.

The ultimate purpose of Holy Week, then, is not to shore up an historical proposition by summoning are emotional and spiritual commitment to affirm; it is a focus for being with Jesus through the enactment of God's Incarnational and salvific drama so that we will be better placed to address and to listen to our Lord in a broader and deeper conversation, with the events of the afternoon and evening of Easter day as our reference point.