If I can give you any advice, I beg you to get closer to the Eucharist and to Jesus... We must pray to Jesus to give us that tenderness of the Eucharist.-Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Gospel text (Lk 24,13-35):
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 the bread.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus appears to two disciples walking along on the road to Emmaus. These two men, filled with grief, did not recognize “that stranger”, who was in fact Jesus now resurrected. The question one must ask themselves is, “Why did they not recognize him?”
Jesus certainly appears to us today in mysterious ways, and he does so both outside and inside of ourselves. When he appears outside of ourselves, one of the places we find him is in other people. Jesus appears subtly, sometimes in the form of a smile or a kind word or action. When Jesus appears inside of us, there is an immediate comfort, deep peace, a sensation of love, a feeling of exuberant joy, from which we can finally become one of those through whom others recognize Christ. Do you aspire to be that kind of person daily?
In our gospel story today, the disciples at Emmaus "recognized Him" in the breaking of the bread, that is, in the Eucharist (Lk 24:31, 35). In the Eucharist, "their eyes were opened and they recognized Him" (Lk 24:31). By their open eyes of faith, they knew He was always with them (Mt 28:20).
Scripture tells us, "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). This passage is a useful guide to all of us, in the long personal journey of continuous “searching for God” in all things. Just as we can not see when something is in our “physical eyes“, the same is true for our “spiritual eyes”. When we do not strive to have a clean heart, we will never be able to see God in our every day life and in those around us.
Allow God to purify your heart through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then you will recognize the risen Christ (see Lk 24:31).