“…Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognizing him.”
Put yourself in the shoes of the two disciples, Cleopas and the unnamed disciple, as they head to Emmaus. This is the third day after Jesus has been crucified. They were probably despondent after putting all their hopes in the Lord and then seeing Him killed in the most horrific way. They seem to have lost all hope, and were a little frightened, I would imagine. They were probably wondering if the Pharisees would come after all who were associated with Jesus. Perhaps, that is why they were leaving Jerusalem, the crime scene, and heading to Emmaus, a village quite a distance away if travelling on foot.
Even when Jesus came upon them and spoke with them, they were probably so distraught and focused on their troubles that they did not recognize Jesus. In addition, although they had heard Jesus preach about raising the temple in three days, they would not have the understanding then. As per the Gospel reading today, something prevented them from recognizing Jesus.
If we are honest with ourselves, there are so many times that we do not recognize Jesus in our lives. We are so caught up with our own agendas, troubles, worries, ambitions, you name it; we are so distracted, and maybe frightened, by the noises out there in this world, that we fail to see Jesus if He were standing in front of us.
It is not by accident that the disciples’ “eyes were opened and recognized him” only after Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them. Sounds familiar? That’s right, that is the celebration of the Eucharist, the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of Christ that we celebrate every Mass. This isn’t to say that we would miraculously recognize Jesus everywhere if we partake in the Eucharist. What it does mean to Catholics, is that we recognize that the Holy Eucharist is the true presence of Jesus, His body, His blood, His soul and His divinity. What is more, if we truly believe in His words and pick up our crosses like He did for us, we will soon see His face in the very people that we meet along the way. Then, and only then, will we truly recognize Jesus.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, open our hearts, our minds and our eyes, so that we can recognize You daily in our lives. May Your presence be felt in everything we do, everything we say, and everyone we meet.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving Your only Son to us for our salvation. For the grace of opening our hearts, minds and souls to our Lord Jesus.