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15.04.2020 15:34:57 420x read.
A reflection on the road to Emmaus.

Chris Antenucci.

I think there are five truths that are revealed in today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke:
1)The two disciples walking along the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize Jesus when He first approached them. Why is this? Because their faith was weak. Only a strong faith allows our intellects to be illuminated by the light of God’s truth. Without that faith, our pride causes us to be spiritually blind, and we can’t see God even when He’s right in front of us.
2)Jesus presented Himself to the two disciples as a stranger on a journey. It was a test for them. If they were truly Jesus’s disciples, would they treat this stranger the same way they’d treat Jesus if it was Him? They called themselves disciples of Jesus, but now it was time to prove it. He taught them that they should love their neighbors as themselves. Now they had a chance to do that. Jesus calls us to treat every single person we meet, no matter what they look like or how they treat us as if we were interacting with Him. He wants us to love others the way He loves us, and the way we should love Him in return. Do we see Jesus in everyone we meet? If we did, I think it would change the way we treated people.
3)Jesus told them everything in the Old Testament was referring to Him. This is the basis for the use of typology in Church tradition. When you read the Old Testament in the light of the new and the new in the light of the old, you can begin to see the full picture. They’re both centered on Jesus since He’s the fullness, perfection, and pinnacle of God’s creation. Thus, the New Testament and the Old Testament are meant to be viewed as one integrated whole rather than two individual parts.

4) The disciples asked Jesus to stay with them and eat dinner. When we’re in God’s presence we might not be able to immediately recognize Him, but His presence gives us the desire to stay with Him. Then, we read the most important line in the entire reading. It says Jesus took the bread, broke it, and said the blessing. Sound familiar? It should if you’re Catholic. It’s what every Catholic priest says before he consecrates the host at Mass. Notice that it doesn’t say “he broke the bread and said a blessing”. The fact that St Luke referred to a specific blessing means that blessing was already being used in the celebration of the Mass by the apostles by the time St Luke wrote that verse. This proves that Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood at the Last Supper. It also proves that the Eucharist truly is Jesus’s body and blood.

But if that isn’t enough proof, what happened next surely is. It says at the moment Jesus said the blessing, the disciples’ eyes were opened, and they could see Jesus as He was for the first time. This makes it clear that through the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit gives us the grace to see things with the eyes of faith. If we receive it in a state of grace, it washes away our venial sins and unites us to Jesus and His body, the Church. Jesus opened the eyes of his disciples at that supper to show them how blind they were, and how much grace and power is stored in His body and blood in the Eucharist. But it wasn’t just for them that Jesus performed this miracle, it was for the apostles they were about to tell, so that their faith would be strengthened and they’d believe in Him even stronger than before. It was also for us, so that we would believe in the power of the Eucharist. It wasn’t a coincidence that this was the first miracle Jesus performed after His resurrection. He wanted to make it clear that the Eucharist is the lifeblood of the Church, and thus should be the center of our faith.

5)The last lesson we learn from today’s Gospel reading is that when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, our hearts are inflamed with love for Him because His Sacred Heart is on fire with love for us. That’s why the disciples said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” That same presence they felt on the road to Emmaus entered their hearts when they received the Eucharist.

Then, after they received it and Jesus left them, they “set out at once” to Jerusalem to share their moving and illuminating experience with others. That’s what receiving Jesus in the Eucharist can do to us, if we receive Him in a state of grace. He inspires us to go out into the world and tell everyone we meet how He opened our eyes to the truth about God, and how He filled us with His love and grace. We’re filled with a desire to share that love with everyone else, because love can’t be possessed, it can only be shared and spread. When God enters our hearts, we’re changed from within, and we desire to give ourselves to others, because that’s what true love is, a total gift of self to another.

That’s what Jesus did when He instituted the Eucharist. He knew He’d spend many days and nights alone in the tabernacle, just waiting for us to visit Him and spend time with Him. He knew many of us would receive Him with indifference and irreverence. But He gave us this gift, and chose to put His body and blood, His very presence into a small piece of bread and some wine to show us how much He loves us, and that He’d always be there for us to give us spiritual nourishment- our daily bread. Through this gift, He wants us to nourish others with the grace He gives us in this sacrament so that the entire world can know who He is and how much He loves all of us. As He said, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” The Eucharist is the match that lights the blaze, and it’s up to us become the fodder for it and spread it to everyone we meet.

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