Was it Not Necessary? The Story of the Road to Emmaus
by Scott Powell
- When the two disciples were speaking to Jesus, before recognizing Him, they were so downcast, disappointed and let-down. They said, “We had hoped.” They had hoped that Jesus was going to redeem them. Can you think of certain things in your life that you had hoped Jesus would do in a certain way, but didn’t? What are those things? Instead of what you had hoped would happen, what did happen?
- Now recognizing those things, think back to what Jesus said to those disciples. “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”… Essentially, Jesus asks, “Was it not necessary?” As hard as it may be, can you begin to understand how God may have allowed certain things to play out in your life because it was necessary — necessary to shape you into the person you were created to become, necessary to bring you closer to Jesus, necessary to sanctify you?
- When the disciples were disappointed and sad — heartbroken, even, that’s when Jesus goes to meet them. He goes to find them. When you are disappointed, sad, and heartbroken, Jesus comes to meet you and find you then too. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. Cling to this truth the next time you are feeling doubtful. And say this prayer: “God, I trust you. I trust that it’s necessary that I face these things, and I know that I don’t have to face them alone because I know that you walk right beside me whether I see you or not — I know and I trust that you’re there.”
- It’s not until the disciples were sharing in the Holy Eucharist with Jesus that they recognize Him. When was the last time you recognized Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, truly acknowledged His presence as you receive His body and blood? Each time we receive the Eucharist, we are being brought from darkness to life. Our eyes go from seeing sin, destruction, and all that is wrong in the world to seeing life, forgiveness and redemption. When was the last time you went to Mass and allowed Jesus to open your eyes to the light? Focus on that light the next time you receive the Eucharist, and cling to it when you inevitably face your trials later in the day or later that week.
- What are the things in your life that you have to look at and accept as necessary so that they can be used to shape you into the man or woman you are meant to be? Are there things that you have previously believed “escaped God’s sight?” How does it change things to now know that God is in control of *all* of it? How does that change your life, how you suffer, how you live, how you interact with others? “We have a God who is concerned with taking those crosses and making them glorious — looking at us in the eyes and saying, “Was it not necessary that you suffered under those things, that you dealt with those issues and that you had those relationships so I could build you into the man or the woman that I want you to be — after my own heart? This is how saints are forged. We don’t know the mind of God. We don’t know why God allows some things to happen and doesn’t allow other things to happen; why He allows certain evils to perpetuate themselves in the world… but I do believe in a God who is in control of all of it — nothing escapes his sight.
Dr. Scott Powell is a teacher and Director of the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought, an outreach to the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has also been an adjunct professor at Denver’s Augustine Institute and has spent the last decade teaching theology and the Scriptures to groups of all ages. He and his wife Annie are the directors and founders of Camp Wojtyla, a Catholic adventure program for youth, based in the Colorado Rockies. Scott also co-hosts and produces the popular Catholic podcast, “The Word on the Hill with the Lanky Guys”. He holds a PhD in Catholic Studies from Maryvale Institute/Liverpool Hope University in England. Scott, his wife Annie, and two children, Lily Avila and Samuel Isaac, live near Boulder, Colorado.