The Gospel reading from today's mass is the story of the two disciples who unknowingly meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. During their journey together, Jesus showed them how the scriptures foretold of the Messiah. Then:
"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 24:28-35).
We often overlook the Eucharistic aspect of this passage. "...while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them" is very similar to the institution narratives in Matthew ("Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples" [Matthew 26:26]), Mark ("And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them" [Mark 14:22]), and Luke ("And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them" [Luke 22:19]).
It was at the breaking of the bread, at Jesus' act of consecrating the Eucharist, that the two disciples recognized him. This recognition connects well with the words of Blessed Mother Teresa which I quoted yesterday. We must recognize Christ in the Eucharist, and when we do, we will not be able to stop ourselves from telling the joyous news to others. Then, too, we will recognize others for who they are: those for whom Jesus gave his body and shed his blood.
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