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Opinion

Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila - The Freeman

It’s the 3rd Sunday of Easter and today’s gospel reading comes from Luke 24: 13-35.

“13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

“17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.

“22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

“25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

“30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.”

* * *

This story actually happens on the afternoon of Easter Sunday. Jesus didn’t appear to the Apostles, but to Mary Magdala first and later on the road to Emmaus he appeared before two people who were his disciples, but not part of the Apostles whom he ordained as priests during the Last Supper. Cleopas was not with the Apostles during the Last Supper but certainly he was told what had happened during that supper.

In that conversation with the Lord on the road to Emmaus, Jesus said to the two, “26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” I have no doubt that the two understood what the Lord was telling them to their amazement.

The second part of this story is when they invited Jesus to break bread with them as it was already evening. During supper, our Lord "took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them". It was only then that they realized that it was our Lord Jesus risen from the dead. Then the Lord disappeared from their sight and they rushed back to Jerusalem in the upper room where the eleven disciples were holed up. This story tells us that we can recognize the Lord fully present in the Holy Eucharist.

EMMAUS

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