For Sunday, April 23rd, 2023
That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
This Gospel teaches us how Christ reveals himself both in the scriptures and in the breaking of the bread. It is interesting to notice how Jesus chose to reveal himself to the disciples after the Resurrection. He approaches two of the disciples who do not understand his death and are leaving Jerusalem. Then, he asks them what they are talking about, and when he hears their half-understood explanation of his Passion, he begins to explain the mysteries of the scriptures to them.
Jesus gives these two disciples an exclusive, all-day, first-person Bible study showing how all the scriptures bore witness to him and to what he had to do in his Passion. He does this all without saying, “Hey, it’s me!” Instead, he speaks with them until they reach the village. By this point, they are so interested in what he has to say that they ask him to remain with them. It is then that he finally reveals himself.
He revealed himself while they were at table when “he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” As he did this, they recognized who he was. Isn’t it interesting that after spending all day with Jesus—talking about Jesus—these disciples didn’t recognize him until he broke and blessed the bread?
After the Resurrection, Jesus reveals himself to us in a new way. Now, like these two disciples, we come to know him through the explanation of the scriptures, but most clearly, we know him in the Eucharist. In the breaking of the bread, Jesus is truly present. His body, blood, soul, and divinity are present in every particle of the consecrated host.
In your prayer today, ask the Lord to be present to you. Listen to the priest as he expounds on the sacred scriptures in his homily, and look for Jesus when the priest takes the bread, says the blessing, breaks the bread, and gives it to the faithful.
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