April 26, 2020: Third Sunday of Easter
Reading: Luke 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 bread.
With a heavy heart we find two of the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus. Their Lord had just been crucified and they were filled not only with grief, but unanswered questions and confusion.
Wasn’t Jesus going to free them from the Roman occupation? Wasn’t he the Messianic deliverer? What will happen to them now?
When Jesus walked up behind them, they thought he was just another pilgrim, and amazed that he didn’t know what had just taken place. As they retold the story to Jesus, they were filled with awe at the “strangers” response. Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer these things and enter into glory? Had the disciples forgotten the writing of the prophets?
The disciples invited Jesus to eat with them because of all he told them, and as they walked, they found their hearts were burning as he spoke. Perhaps, it was the beginning of seeing Jesus transformed. It was when Jesus took bread and said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them were their eyes opened.
As I read this gospel I thought of the song that I have sung and prayed many times by Jesse Manibusan, Open My Eyes Lord. How many times, too, have I found myself feeling confused, disappointed and let down, refusing to see, because the outcome was so different than what I had hoped at the time. It was only in hindsight that was I able to really see and know the Spirit was there all the time.
Reflect on the words of Jesse Manibusans’ song — “Open my eyes Lord, help me to see your face. Open my ears Lord, help me to hear you voice. Open my heart Lord, help me to love like you.” Listen to it on You Tube.