Before recitation of the Regina Caeli prayer on Sunday, the Holy Father discussed the Gospel reading of the day about the disciples of Emmaus. He described how, after Jesus’ death, they were sad and dejected, but encountered Jesus, despite not initially recognizing him.
He explained how the disciples of Emmaus, when they took in the Word and shared the piece of bread, they went from being "sad and defeated" to becoming "joyful.”
Jesus “relights a fire of hope in their hearts,” the Pope said, helping them understand that the Lord’s passion and death were part of God’s plan and foretold in Sacred Scripture.
Noting how it relates to faithful today, Francis said: “The road to Emmaus in this way becomes the symbol of our journey of faith: the Scriptures and the Eucharist are the indispensable elements for our encounter with the Lord."
He pointed out how Christians distance themselves from God, saying: “We too arrive at Sunday Mass with our worries, our problems and delusions... Life sometimes wounds us and we walk along sadly toward our 'Emmaus,' turning our backs on God’s plan. We distance ourselves from God."
This Gospel, he exclaimed, offers us hope, for it “welcomes us” because “Jesus explains the Scriptures and reignites the fire of faith and hope in our hearts and in Communion he gives us strength.”
As a remedy for being downcast, Pope Francis said “take up the Word of God and go to Sunday Mass to receive Communion, to participate in the mystery of Jesus.”
He invited those gathered to pray “that every Christian, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus, especially at Sunday Mass, rediscover the grace of the transformative encounter with the Lord, with the risen Lord, who is always with us."
“There is always a Word of God that gives us direction after we have become confused," he added. "Through our weariness and delusions there is always piece of broken bread that makes us go forward on the way,” he said.
After recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father made special appeals for victims in Ukraine and Afghanistan, recalling those that died in “enormous landslide” that occurred in the Afghani village two days earlier and which claimed over 2,000 lives.
The Pope highlighted that it was the National Day for the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, one of Europe's largest private research universities and the largest Catholic University in the world, located in Milan.
He said the theme for the day -- ‘With young people: the protagonists of the future' -- is a "beautiful theme" and reminded the young people present they are "protagonists of the future!"
After lauding the university for staying faithful to its original mission and up to date with the contemporary world, he said: “God willing, I will soon visit here in Rome the faculty of medicine and surgery at the Gemelli Polyclinic, which has been with us for 50 years and is a part of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.”
Thanking them for their work, Francis greeted the participants in the March for Life and the Meter Association which for almost 20 years has fought against every form of abuse of minors. He told them both to "go forward" and to remain international and ecumenical. (D.C.L.)
On Zenit’s Web page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-the-journey-of-faith--2