April 15, 2020
Below is Part Three, and the last part of the Easter Season story as told from the point of view of St. John, the Beloved Disciple of Jesus King All Nations, in my book The Gospel of Love, an historical fictional autobiography of St. John. The stories correspond to the Gospel of the day. Part One may be seen here. Part Two may be seen here.
We we were still hiding in the Upper Room for fear of being arrested. Two other disciples came to visit us from the village of Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. One of them told us another amazing story with great excitement.
“Today we were walking on the way back from here to Emmaus and talking with each other about the women’s tale that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb and that angels had said that He was alive. It made no sense to us and we were trying to figure out its meaning.”
“Then a stranger approached us and said, ‘What are you talking about as you are walking?’ ”
“Cleopas, looking sad, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who doesn’t know what’s happened there in these days?’ ”
“’What things?’, the stranger asked.”
“Cleopas said, ‘About Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our Chief Priests and rulers delivered Him up to be condemned to death and crucified Him. We had hoped that He would be the one who would set Israel free. Today is the third day since these things happened.’ ”
“But some women from our group told us some astounding news. They were at the tomb early in the morning, didn’t find his body and came back and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who announced that He was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but Him they did not see.”
“Then the stranger said to us, ‘O foolish men! Why are you so slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary that the Messiah had to suffer these things in order to enter into His glory?’ ”
“Then He began with Moses and all the prophets and He interpreted every passage of Scripture that referred to the Messiah. We began to understand that we had mistakenly expected an earthly king who would rule over the new Kingdom of Israel. We expected a kingdom that would overcome Rome, eliminate evil, dispense justice and restore Israel to its former glory.”
“As the stranger continued to interpret the Scriptures, we now began to understand that the Messiah was a heavenly king. That he came not to rule but to serve. That to reign is to serve. His reign of service was to save our souls for eternity by the forgiveness of our sins. His kingdom was eternal. It was a Kingdom of God, a kingdom of faith, peace, love and joy for all people, for all nations, for all time.”
“As we drew near to the village, He acted as if He were going farther, but we stopped Him and said, ‘Stay with us, for it’s almost evening and the day is now far spent.’ ”
“So, He came and stayed with us and we sat down to eat. He took bread, blessed it and broke it and gave it to us. And suddenly our eyes were opened and we recognized Him. It was Jesus! As soon as we recognized Him in the breaking of the bread, He vanished out of our sight.”
“We said to each other, ‘Weren’t our hearts burning within us as He explained the Scriptures to us?’ ”
“Then we got up and came right here to tell you all about it.”
For the whole story read my book, The Gospel of Love.
“When I read my Foreword aloud to my 91-year-old mother, she said, ‘I want to read that book just from listening to what you said about it.’ Bravo Dan!”
– From the Foreword by Erin von Uffel, DM (Dame in the Order of Malta) Vice Postulator of the cause for the canonization of Sister Marie de Mandat-Grancey