The Word and the Bread are inseparable
The Word and the Bread are inseparable
1. ✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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.
2. We are still in Eastertide, particularly the forty days between resurrection and ascension. This moment was very crucial for Jesus to convince his followers that his resurrection was real and that he was truly alive. Within this period he multiplied apparitions to his disciples. It was based on these that they become convinced and would be able to lay down their lives for the gospel of Christ, dead and resurrected. It was based on these that Peter declared in today’s first reading that it was impossible for Christ to be held by dead. Today’s gospel presents us with the Emmaus encounter. On the first day of the week, third day of the crucifixion of Jesus, his fellowers were hiding because of the fear of the Jews. Amidst this fear came the news that his dead body was missing. This was a bad news for his followers. Consequently two of them decided to sneak out of Jerusalem before the problem begins.
3. While the two were on their way Jesus joined them as a stranger. They told him their disappointment and their fear which has led to their leaving the city. Jesus took them back to the scriptures and convinced them that what happened to Jesus was in accordance with the scriptures and blamed them for their ignorance of the scriptures. When they reached their destination they invited Jesus to pass the night with them even when they had not known who he was. In the course of their meal he revealed himself to them when he took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. With this Eucharistic gesture their eyes opened and they recognized him. They left Emmaus that night to get back to Jerusalem ready to die for the truth that has been revealed to them.
4. The journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus in the company of Jesus was a journey from ignorance to knowledge, from fear to courage, from slavery to freedom. Without the sharing of the word of God it would have been impossible to invite Jesus to the house and he would not have been recognized in the breaking of the bread. The Emmaus experience has much to say to us about the link between the Word of God and the Holy Communion. He who must recognize Jesus in the Eucharist must start with listening to his Word. This is the reason why the mass has two major parts: the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the eucharist. Those who pay more attention to the Holy Communion without first of all listening to the Word and its explanation cannot truly recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. The Emmaus experience is therefore an invitation to fight our ignorance of the scriptures. A good ten minutes daily reading of the Word of God will surely bring one to recognize Christ better in the Holy Communion.
5. The Emmaus experience is an invitation to remain in the community of believers. The Emmaus disciples returned without delay to the fold and the other members of the community confirmed their experience by affirming that Jesus has also appeared to Simon. The Church does not belong to any particular person. When there is problem in the Church everyone should stay and look for solution together. Running away is never a solution. It is when people are together that God comes in their midst. Jesus prefers to reveal himself to groups rather than to individuals. That was why he refused to appear to Thomas alone even when he doubted. Jesus waited for him to be together with others before coming to clear his doubt.
6. You must take home two concrete messages from the Emmaus experience. Make effort to listen to the Word by coming early to the Eucharistic celebration so that when the bread is broken you will be able to recognize Jesus in the Communion. Many unworthy communions today are result of not listening sufficiently to the word of God first of all at mass and then outside the mass in personal and group reading of the Word. Most of your fears are nurtured by ignorance of the scriptures. The second message is that you should not run away from the Church. You must take your part as a full member. You are as important as Peter and other apostles.©Vita 23/04/23