FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
April 19, 2017
EASTER WEDNESDAY – JESUS LIVES!
WORD of the DAY
Now that very day two of them 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 Messiah 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 the bread. (Luke 24: 13-35)
Today’s episode of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus is one of the most known of Luke’s Gospel and it is very precious for us and very timely because the thread that connects it is the Sunday Eucharist where we can meet Jesus and recognize Him. There are two disciples but only one is named and the other remains anonymous almost as though saying that we are invited to identify ourselves with the unnamed one. We could say that Cleopas is the disciple at the time of the events and the other is myself who walks along the same road. It can often happen that we arrive at Sunday Mass with many preoccupations, difficulties, anxieties, and our heart in pieces…Then we hear the readings, and Jesus Himself explains the Scriptures to us so that our eyes are opened and our heart burns within us. Jesus reminds us of two words that we often forget: cross and glory.
He helps us understand the need of the cross that brings us to redemption and resurrection! Then the Liturgy of the Eucharist places us with the disciples who recognized Jesus ‘in the breaking of the bread”. This is a summary gesture that reveals the permanent identity of the Lord: of Jesus on earth, of Jesus Risen, of Jesus present today in the community. Once recognized, Jesus flees being possessed and disappears. But now even the unnamed disciple knows well the essential traits that identify His presence and knows how to meet Him on the journey!