19 April
Lk 24:13-35

Now on that same day two of [Jesus’ disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognising him….
Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Two men with heavy hearts, full of regrets and foreboding, going in the wrong direction…. Jesus walks beside them and talks with them but they are unable to recognise him.  This story is an image of the life of the Church.  What we have in today’s reading is an example of how Christians should read the Scriptures.  The Lord is with them unawares.  He teases out their fears and doubts and disillusionment.... He calls their attention to what they had overlooked or misunderstood.  Finally they “recognise him in the breaking of bread.”  This is a phrase that Luke repeats (verses 31 and 35), as if to make sure we notice it.  Throughout, the language is eucharistic, the same that he had used a few chapters earlier in describing the Last Supper (22:19).  That phrase, “the breaking of bread”, is used repeatedly in the Acts of the Apostles (also written by Luke) to refer to the ritual meal of the Christian community, the Eucharist (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7; 27:35).  Disciples in every century have continued to recognise him in “the breaking of bread.” 

About five years later, Paul, the persecutor of Christians, was to have his strange experience.  On the road to Damascus he was thrown to the ground and he heard a voice, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?  I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:4,5).  Jesus, then, is still beside his followers.  He is only dimly recognised and by few.  “You were with me,” wrote St Augustine some centuries later, “but I was not with you” (Confessions, X, 27).  But we are able to recognise him in the breaking of bread.

 

 
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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 

 

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