Acts 2:14, 22-33; 1 Pt 1:17-21; Lk 24:13-35
Rev José Mario O. Mandía
“They were conversing about all the things that had occurred.”
That’s what you and I probably do when things don’t turn out well for us: talk to others about it. It is natural for us to want to unburden ourselves and perhaps seek some consolation, some relief, some hope. But it often happens that, instead of banishing our sorrows, fears or indignation, talking to others only brings more suffering, anxiety, or anger to us and to them.
Things change when Jesus steps into the picture. He doesn’t wait for us to invite Him. He draws near and walks with us. And though our disappointment or indignation can prevent us from recognizing Jesus, His love is stubborn. He insists, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” He invites us to look into our hearts, unburden ourselves before him, tell him about our dashed hopes, tell him what’s wrong with us.
Sometimes we think He doesn’t know what’s happening. “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And it is he, Jesus, who “explains the parable” (cf Mt 13:36) to us. He shows us that we are the foolish ones. He — God’s Word — “makes our hearts burn within us,” enlightens us, gladdens us, strengthens us with his words, makes us see that it had all been planned by our most-wise, most-loving, and all-powerful Father in heaven. How much light and hope we can find in Sacred Scripture, if only we cared to open it, read it and dwell on its words daily!
Once we experience the joy of his company, we cannot but beg him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” Yes, stay with us, Lord, for if you go, the darkness will overwhelm us.
Aside from nourishing us with His Word, He nourishes us with His Body and Blood. He takes His own flesh, blesses, breaks and gives it to us. It is the final touch that opens our eyes: where the Eucharist is, there Jesus truly and really is. And though he vanishes from our sight, we know that he remains with us, as long as we do not reject Him through mortal sin. Jesus offers His Real Presence daily. Let us adore and receive Him daily.
Recognize him in the Eucharist!
Fr Fernando Armellini
The story of the disciples of Emmaus is one of the most beautiful pages of the Gospels. How could one not notice, for example, that the sentence: “When he was at table with them, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them” explicitly recalls the celebration of the Eucharist? And, before sitting down at the table, the mysterious traveler also presides over a solemn liturgy of the Word with its three readings (“and beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them in all the Scriptures…” [v. 27]) and his good sermon (“Were not our hearts burning within us when he opened to us the Scriptures…” [v. 32]). In short, he officiated a full-blown liturgy. It is easy to understand what Luke wants to teach: the eyes of a Christian open and recognize the Risen Christ during the Sunday liturgical celebration.
The two disciples are sad: they have seen the collapse of their dreams, the failure of their plans. They expected a glorious Messiah, a mighty and triumphant king but found themselves in front of a loser. The rabbis taught that the Messiah would have lived a thousand years, Jesus instead was dead.
It is our story. We too find ourselves sometimes in the same state of mind. It happens when we have to admit that cunning prevails over honesty; when we are forced to acknowledge the lie becomes the official truth, imposed by those in power; when we see the prophets silenced or killed. We stop, sad, resigned in the face of an inevitable reality, forced to admit that the new world announced by Jesus probably would never come true. How to get out of this desperate situation?
The Emmaus disciples have made mistakes. First of all, they left the community whose members continued to search for an answer to what had happened. They did not verify if the women’s experience could be enlightening for them.
The Emmaus disciples did not have the slightest doubt that their ideas about the triumphant messiah could be wrong. They were stubbornly clinging to tradition, to what they had been taught. They were impervious to the surprises and novelties of God.
In the story of the disciples of Emmaus, all elements of the celebration of the Eucharist are present: there is the entrance of the celebrant, then the Liturgy of the Word with the homily, finally, “the breaking of bread.” Only at the time of the Eucharistic communion the eyes open and the disciples realize that the Risen One is in their midst.