For me a highlight of today’s Gospel is the invitation of the disciples on the road to Emmaus:
“Stay with us, it’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.”
The day has been long, the walk arduous (about 12 kilometers), the sorrow of the crucifixion is slowly being replaced by understanding, and their “new” friend is about to move on.
So they invite Jesus, whom they haven’t recognized, to stop and stay with them.
The final document from the 2007 Latin American and Caribbean bishops conference in Aparecida, Brazil, closes with a prayer reflection on these words. In part they read:
Stay with us, Lord,
keep us company, even though we have not always recognized you.
Stay with us, because all around us the shadows are deepening,
and you are the Light;
discouragement is eating its way into our hearts:
make them burn with the certainty of Easter.
We are tired of the journey,
but you comfort us in the breaking of bread,
so that we are able to proclaim to our brothers and sisters
that you have truly risen
and have entrusted us with the mission
of being witnesses of your resurrection.
Stay, Lord, with those in our societies who are most vulnerable;
remain with the poor and the lowly,
with indigenous peoples and Afro-Americans,
who have not always found space and support
to express the richness of their culture
and the wisdom of their identity.
Remain, Lord, with our children
and with our young people,
who are the hope and the treasure of our Continent,
protect them from so many snares
that attack their innocence and their legitimate hopes.
O Good Shepherd, remain with our elderly and with our sick.
Strengthen them all in faith,
so that they may be your disciples and missionaries!