The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus
Jesus in today’s gospel is not recognized by two of His disciples on their way to Emmaus. Actually they were disappointed by the tragic end of the Lord. His death scatters and shatters their hopes and dreams. And Jesus explains the Scriptures to them and tries to put sense to the confusing events that happened in the holy city. He explains to them again the meaning of the prophecies about the Christ that He needs to suffer and dies for sins. St. Paul says that there is no Christ without a cross. He says: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:19).
What makes them difficult to recognize Him? St. Augustine (5th cent church father) answered by saying: “They were so disturbed when they saw Him hanging on the cross that they forgot His teaching, did not look for His resurrection and failed to keep His promises in mind,” (from: Sermon 235.1). He continued: “Their eyes were obstructed, that they should not recognize Him until the breaking of the bread. And thus, in accordance with the state of their minds, which was still ignorant of the truth, ‘that the Christ would die and rise again,’ their eyes were similarly hindered. It was not that the truth Himself was misleading them but rather that, they were themselves unable to perceive the truth,” (from: The Harmony of the Gospels, 3.25.72).
And it is only in the breaking of the Bread, that the two disciples recognize Jesus. In our case, we are called to recognize Him in the Holy Eucharist through our faith. You know what Holy Scriptures and the Holy Eucharist are the two best ways of knowing Christ. It is because it is also by knowing Jesus in the “Word” that leads us to know Him fully in the Mystery of His Body and Blood which is the culmination of His love. Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that the Eucharist is the ‘making present and the sacramental offering’ of Christ (no. 1362). By His presence in the Eucharist He walks for us, with us in our life, and waiting for us.
Somebody said that the Holy Eucharist is all the following:
- Act of thanksgiving — for God’s works of creation, redemption and sanctification.
- Mystery of faith; Heart of the Church’s mystery (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II)
- Breaking of the bread (Acts 2: 42, Luke 24:21)
- Memorial of the Lord’s passion and resurrection
- Holy Sacrifice because Christ is giving Himself to the Father and then to all of us.
- Sacrament of love: St. Ephrem wrote that Jesus filled the Eucharist with His Spirit.
- St. Augustine wrote: A Sacrament of devotion, sign of unity, bond of charity!
- Paschal banquet: Bread of life; Cup of eternal salvation
- Gift par excellence: Christ’s person and his saving work.
- Cosmic Act: “uniting heaven and earth and permeating all creation.” (John Paul II Letter on the Eucharist # 8)
- Pledge of eternal glory: Eucharistic devotion goes beyond being a memorial of the Passover, for through our communion at the altar we are filled with heavenly blessing and grace. Now the Eucharist is an anticipation of the heavenly glory.
- Promise of Christ’s return: Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus! (Rev. 1:4, 22:20)
- Divine Liturgy (Mass) — “The work of the people” under divine guidance. This is entry into the Heavenly liturgy where God will be all in all. (1Cor 15:28)
Do we recognize the Lord in His Word and in the Breaking of the Bread, the Eucharist?