We always listen to this Resurrection Gospel (Lk 24: 13-35) every Easter that we seem to be no longer excited about it. As soon as we hear about Emmaus, we readily conclude that we know the entire story of the two disappointed disciples fleeing Jerusalem and how Jesus appeared to them and joined them in the journey and in a meal.

Let us take some time to appreciate the beauty of this passage. The story appears only in Luke and is the longest of all the gospel stories about the Resurrection. Here Jesus does not only appear but also imparts a teaching that explains how the passion, cross and resurrection fit into the Father’s plan of salvation.

The “two” who were traveling were part of those who heard the testimony of the women but refused to believe. So deep was their disbelief that they set out to go far from Jerusalem. But as they were walking, they kept talking about Jesus, and at that time, Jesus appeared to them. The scene is dramatic because they did not recognize the Lord. Did Jesus look different? Luke says the problem was not in Jesus, but in the eyes of the two that were held back from recognizing him.

The two mistook Jesus perhaps as just an ordinary Passover pilgrim. They were surprised that Jesus did not seem to know the current events in Jerusalem. Jesus pretended not to know and the two told him their story and their feelings. It became clear that they were truly disappointed (we were hoping… going to redeem Israel). They remembered the women’s story, which they earlier dismissed. Jesus sensed that there was still some hope, but there was no faith. Jesus took the occasion to patiently explain the Scriptures to the disciples.

The two were so engrossed in listening that they even invited this stranger to stay with them at Emmaus. Though sad, they did not yet lose the fire of discipleship; in fact their hearts were burning within them. And at last, at the meal, when Jesus broke the bread, they finally recognized him.

Listening to the explanation of Scriptures did not make them recognize Jesus but it prepared their hearts. The breaking of bread (original expression of Luke) opened their eyes to his presence. The story wants us to realize that it was in a eucharistic action that Jesus was fully revealed.

At times we feel we are not as fortunate as the early Christians who met the Lord and saw him, heard him, encountered him. The Emmaus story reminds us that the same means of recognizing, meeting, touching, listening and eating with Jesus are here with us today in every Eucharist we celebrate. If we have faith in the Scriptures and in the Body and Blood of the Lord, he is truly present with us wherever we are! When we celebrate the Mass, we are blessed to be in his presence!