Appearance on the road to Emmaus

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

It’s the 3rd Sunday after Easter Sunday and today’s scripture reading has always been a favorite of mine because it gives us an idea what the disciples were thinking after they saw our Lord Jesus Christ crucified and dead on the cross. We can read about the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Emmaus, which you can read in Luke 24:13-35.

“13 That very day, [the first day of the week,] two of [the disciples] were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, 14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. 15 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew hear and walked with them, 16 but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleofas, 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?” 19 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, 20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.

21 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. 22 Some women from our group, however, has astounded us; they were at the tomb early in the morning 23 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. 24 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.

25 And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory? 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.

29 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. 30 And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. 31 With that, their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

32 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? 33 So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them 34 who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” 35 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.”

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If you have been religiously reading your scriptures, you will take note that the last time his apostles and disciples saw their Lord and Master was during the Last Supper, where our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist. Then he went off to the Garden in Gethsemane to pray, but his disciples did not join him in prayer, but slept. Our Lord Jesus Christ asked them if they would join him in prayer even just for an hour. But they continued sleeping.

It was then that Judas Iscariot arrived with the Roman soldiers and betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. Then our Lord Jesus was stripped, mocked and flogged and a crown with thorns forced into his head. That was the last we saw of his apostles and disciples, except for John the beloved who stayed with the Blessed Virgin Mary and Mary Magdala. But I would like to believe that most of the disciples must have been following our Lord carrying his cross in the Via Dolorosa, so they must have seen the whole drama until the Lord was nailed on the cross and died at the Holy Hour at three o’clock!

So most of his disciples ended up truly depressed and disappointed that the life of Christ ended so abruptly… when they mistakenly believed that his mission on earth was to redeem Israel. But with his death on the cross that wasn’t happening anymore.

Of course, our Lord was quite disappointed in these two disciples, as they apparently did not learn anything that he taught them before he was crucified. But when our Lord Jesus Christ broke the bread and gave them his blessing…their eyes were opened and their hearts burning that it was the Lord who was with them. The Holy Mass began 2,000 years ago and it is still with us today. God never changes…but we humans have changed a lot!

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