Walking on the road to Emmaus

road to emmaus

Our voyage in the Holy Land (May 2018) brought us to meet believers of different ecclesiastic backgrounds. The idea was to encounter them in their personal settings replete with longsuffering but also joy and hope.

For us, it was a life changing experience!

Naturally we also went to exchange ideas, uplifting the vision to celebrate in 2033 the 2000 years of Jesus’s resurrection. Different leaders in the land have special insight in regards to gathering the body of Christ in the future. We also wanted to research the idea of a walk of unity on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus.

It is our pleasure to introduce you to one of these encounters; a man named Frère Olivier.  He is a French Benedictine monk living in the beautiful and well-kept monastery in Abu Gosh. Though weakened in his health, Frère Olivier warmly welcomed us and listened attentively as we shared the idea of a walk of unity on the road to Emmaus.abu gosh

Frère Olivier explained the local history and we discovered the ambiguity of what is thought to be modern day Emmaus. One can infer from reading the biblical passages a certain perimeter around Jerusalem allowing a day’s walk (60 stadia). There are stories claiming three separate locations. Why such a big deal? On the road to Emmaus is where Jesus met his downcast disciples after his resurrection and explained the scriptures to them. Frère Olivier mentioned that there could even be a fourth locality called Motza whereby no church ministry has ever claimed. According to him, Motza is the best suited of the four, given the remnants of a Roman road and when calculating the distances. “Wouldn’t that express God’s humor for it to be this one!” he said. There are efforts in place to create an official walking trail “on the path of Emmaus”.

The more we talked the more animated he became. It was a precious moment as we listened to three powerful testimonies of tragedy, love and forgiveness, and how he was able to help be a vessel of reconciliation within the local community.

Our minds were still meditating on these testimonies when a little bell rang calling the faithful to celebrate mass in the next-door chapel.

Pope Francis said it well: Today more than ever we need to be bridge builders and demolishers of walls!

In a land where divisions roar like a lion, the question is:  what contribution can we offer to promote unity around Jesus, the risen Savior?

Our invitation is also addressed to you. What part will you play?

June 2018, by Jason and Anouchka Hollinger, Israel



Abu Gosh2With Frère Olivier