Acts 2:14, 22-28; 1Pt 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35
There was a professor in the seminary that was lecturing in a class of future preachers. He was trying to impress upon the students the importance of using facial expression to express feelings when preaching.
“When you speak of heaven,” he said, “let your face light with heavenly glow….When you speak of hell, your everyday face will have to do.”
There are times when your “everyday face” reflects the hell you are going through. And for the two disciples who were walking toward the village of Emmaus after hearing their Master’s death, the facial expression reflected a “hell” of deep sadness and disappointment over the tragic end of Jesus.
I proposed three things for us to reflect today’s gospel.
First is, the two disciples did not recognize Jesus. The two disciples did not recognize Jesus when Jesus joined them in their journey. Who is Jesus?
According to a survey that there are more than six hundred different Christian groups (religion) that exist in the Philippines today. So, there must be more than six hundred ways of preaching about Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus Christ? If we ask the Catholic Church, for her Jesus is God, Savior, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, a Man, Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary and many more. If we ask the Muslims, Jesus for them is one of the greatest prophets but not as a God as equal as Allah. If we ask the Iglesia Ni Kristo, like the Muslims, they do not believe that Jesus is God but only a man. For Born-again Christians, Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. For the Opus Dei, El Shaddai, the 700 Club and many more, they have their own understanding of Jesus for them. If we gather them in one room, I’m sure there would be a holy war in just five minutes because of their different understanding about Jesus.
Even our four evangelists, Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, they gave us different portrait of who Jesus is. For St. Mark, Jesus is a living human being; For St. Matthew, Jesus is the Second Moses and the Messiah; For St. Luke, Jesus is the savior of all nations and for St. John, Jesus is the universal Christ of faith and experience.
Even our theologians, they have their own way of presenting Jesus to the people. Actually, they proclaim Jesus differently because of their own different personal experience about Him.
If you ask me who Jesus is for me, I would say: Jesus is not just God and Savior but a true friend of mine. It is because a true friend is like this:
A friend is radical because he loves you when you are unlovable
He hugs you when you are unhuggable
He bears you when you are unbearable.
A friend is also a mathematician. He multiplies your joy
He divides your sorrows, He subtracts your past and He adds your
Tomorrow. He is always bigger than the sum of His parts.
Second, the two disciples did know their scriptures. That is why Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. Christ interpreted the biblical texts about his suffering before He could enter His glory. The crucifixion led to the glory of His resurrection
Do you have a Bible in your home? If you have, congratulations! And if you don’t have, how will you know Christ? And so look for a copy.
The word Bible is coming from the Latin word, biblos, which means “a library or a collection of books,” since the Bible is composed of different books written by different authors. The Bible contains 73 books, 27 in the New Testament and 46 in the Old Testament. The Bible teaches us many things: about God, Jesus Christ, salvation, life and many more. So grab the opportunity of relating Jesus through His words in the Bible.
Many religious people have Bibles and you have Bible too in your respective home. But how do we use them? Maybe some of us read the Bible like a novel with no noticeable spiritual results so that we may be able to share our own spiritual experience to others. Some of us, the pages of our Bible are well worn because we constantly quoting to defend or prove a statement. We treat the Bible as a reference book like a dictionary, encyclopedia or general reference. But many of us do not read our Bible. But remember what St. Jerome had wittingly said: “Ignorance of the Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Just like the story I read of a prisoner who was left alone in his prison cell with only the Bible. He could rattle off to you that the Authorized Version contained: 773,692 words, 31,173 verses and 1,189 chapters. That all letters of the alphabet are found Ezra 8:21, that the longest verse in the Bible is Esther 8:9 and the shortest verse is John 11:35. That prisoner knew about his Bible all right and the information he gave are all correct but it did nothing for him.
Third, the two disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Their eyes were opened that is was Jesus who accompanied them in the road to Emmaus. Jesus took the bread, said the blessings to God, broke it and gave it to them. Most think that his meal at Emmaus was not Eucharistic meal. Yet, there is no doubt that the words: “He took bread, pronounced the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them,” (v. 30) has Eucharistic overtones and reminds us of the words of the Last Supper: “taking bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them” (Luke 22:19).
The Eucharist is making present again the very presence of Jesus and His saving acts for His people. It is to remind us that the Mass is not supposed to be a superficial gathering of people but a communion of friends: sharing the same faith, hope and love in Christ.
So at the end, let us not separate us from Christ and know Him better in the breaking of the bread during Mass.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A