Their Eyes Were Opened and They Recognized Him

The Emmaus story is a popular one in the New Testament. We all can identify with the desolation these two disciples feel. The Lord they had hoped would save Israel had been killed. He is dead! If he is dead, how could they believe the story of the women that they saw him alive; that he has risen from the grave! I am sure they thought it was just a mere story, begun in the imagination of these women, but which was closer to a mere wish than to reality. Their discussion was a radical complaint against Jesus and all he stood for. It was a complaint born out of disappointment or delusion: “we were hoping he would be the one to redeem Israel”. That was the major reason they believed and followed this Master who was great in deeds and mighty in the signs he performed. What next? There was no hope; everything had been dashed to the wind. It was the most radical delusion, and they didn’t know how and when they would come out of it.

And then, this “Stranger” joined them, and guided them through the Scriptures so they could see that the Christ had to suffer before he would enter into His glory. Despite their desolation, they were willing to listen to this Stranger. But not only did they listen, but they also thought about what they heard, and in so doing, felt the words in their heart. It was because they listened, reflected, and experienced Him, that they wanted Him to stay through the evening. He stayed with them. But then, at table, He took the bread, said the blessing, and gave it to them: He fed them. The moment He fed them, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. They didn’t recognize him right away: they listened, thought about what He said, and allowed themselves to feel it in their hearts; then they were ready to recognize Him in the breaking of bread.

Faith always begins with hearing, and we do not just hear the words; we listen with our hearts as well. Listening with the heart is what reflection invites us to do. And it is only when we listen with the heart that we can recognize the Lord in our lives, especially in the Eucharist. Look for the opportunities this week to listen and experience Our Lord!

Fr Cornelius Okeke