20TH APRIL 2022
THEY RECOGNIZED HIM IN THE BREAKING OF BREAD
Today’s Gospel (Lk 24:13-35), set on the day of the Passover, tells the story of the two disciples of Emmaus.
We may only learn that we are frequently
"foolish...and slow of heart to believe all that God has done" (Luke 24:25). But there is one thing the disciples get right in this account, something so seemingly small that it would be easy to overlook. They welcomed Jesus with open arms. "Stay with us, for its soon nightfall, and the day is almost done" (Luke 24:29). They finally recognize Him during the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:32). When we offer hospitality, God uses it not simply to serve those who are thirsty, but also as an invitation for us to follow Him.
While Cleopas and the other disciple were going to Emmaus, the risen Jesus suddenly walked with them and conversed with them. They had no feeling that it was already the risen Christ who was with them.
These two disciples were like dry sponges soaked in every word He spoke, and when they arrived at their destination and it appeared that Jesus was going on further they begged Him to remain with them so that they could “drink in” even more of what He had to teach them. He came in and “When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24: 3031). Now, they too had seen the resurrected Savior for themselves! Hearing Him, seeing Him, being with Him, they were motivated, “their hearts burned within them.” They were filled with joy and “couldn’t sit still” They just had to get up, at that very moment, and rush the seven miles back to Jerusalem to witness what they, too, had seen and heard for themselves… Jesus was alive!
We encounter Christ every time we celebrate the Eucharist just as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Scriptures are proclaimed and explained in the light of Christ. Our eyes are opened to a new way of looking at reality by the Word of God. We recognize Christ in the breaking of bread, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This does not mean that Christ is not present in other ways because in the first reading (Acts 3:1-10) we see Christ also present in the ministry of His Apostles. The Real Presence means Christ is present in the fullest sense in the Eucharist: substantially present in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. That explains why verbum Domini 55 reminds us that we honor the Sacred Scriptures and the Eucharist with the same reverence though not with the same worship.
We have all traveled the road to Emmaus at some time as we had our hopes dashed. But what a difference the presence of Christ makes in our lives. Our eyes are opened to a new way of looking at reality by the Word of God and by the breaking of the Bread.