May 4, 2014: 3rd Sunday of Easter
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…
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. … (Luke 24:13-23; 28-32)
Today’s gospel reads like a play.
Two disciples walk along discussing events of the weekend. A stranger approaches and listens to their sad story. “Yes,” they say, “we’ve heard that the Lord has appeared, but it’s all just too much. We just don’t know what to make of it.” The stranger then explained matters so engagingly that the disciples invited him to stay with them and they finally realized the stranger was Jesus.
We cannot see Jesus as the disciples did, but we can know him as they did through the teachings of our faith and in “the breaking of the bread,” the Eucharist.
Perhaps you can spend a few moments thinking about these great gifts: faith and Eucharist.