Recognizing Jesus

Luke 24:13-35
Acts 3:1-10 / Psa 105

Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him…
(Luke 24:31)

Walk with Jesus and you reallze
The words of love that He has spoken;
The Risen Lord we can recognize
In the faces of the forsaken.

Now that same day two disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they were talking about everything that had happened in Jerusalem, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them. But they did not recognize Him. He asked them, “What are you discussing with yourselves as you walk along?” One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” He asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and crucified; we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. It is the third day since all this took place, and some of our women amazed us, saying they went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find His body. They said they had seen angels who told them He was alive. Some of us went to the tomb, and as the women had said, they did not see Him.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if He were going farther. But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when He broke the bread. (Luke 24: 13-35)

Reflection

The two disciples did not recognize Jesus at first because the Risen Lord, now in His glorified state, looked so different from the crucified Christ Who was horribly scarred and disfigured in His passion and death. But as His true followers, they immediately realized it was Him in the way He thanked the Father in prayer and broke the bread for them to eat. On the other hand, the Jewish leaders and rabbis did not recognize our Lord in spite of His powerful words and deeds because they were too puffed up with pride and power. Even though they were more familiar with the Scriptures than the simple folks who walked with Jesus, their lack of faith blocked God’s grace of discernment, and they failed to see the prophecies of Isaiah regarding the Suffering Servant which referred to Jesus as the One who would be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. (Isa.52:13). God prefers to open the eyes of the humble than to try to change the “blindness” of the proud and powerful.

Very rarely do the proud and powerful of this world walk with the Lord. It is because they do not recognize Him in the faces of their fellow travelers in this short journey called life. In fact, so many Christians who look up to them are walking away from the right path of Christ because they are lured by the ways of the world, and are more preoccupied in the pursuit of freedom, wealth and power. Now more than ever we need to take the road to Emmaus, to listen more to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, and to break bread with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist of the Mass. It is here where we can recognize our Lord Jesus as present in the person of the celebrant as he “celebrates the Lord’s Supper” at the altar. It is in recognizing His Presence in the Holy Mass that defines our faith as Catholics.

Lord Jesus, forgive us whenever we fail to recognize You in our fellow travelers. Help us to know You better by meditating more on Your teaching in the Gospel. We are truly sorry for our own lethargy and unwillingness to value Your Word in the Bible. Grant that we may have the boldness of spirit to declare that You are indeed alive in our life, and we have been renewed by Your Resurrection. Amen.

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