By Amy Schisler

Wine Wednesday - Breaking Bread

 

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.” ~ Luke 24:30-31

In today’s Gospel, we hear the beautiful account of the Walk to Emmaus. Often, people ask, “Why didn’t they recognize Jesus?” It’s hard to imagine not recognizing someone we spent so much time with, who taught us, loved us, and died for us. How can these people, Cleopas and (most likely) his wife Mary, not have known it was the Lord?

Jesus in Glory

Let us consider Jesus’ appearance before and after His death and resurrection. Before Jesus’ death, though He was fully God, Jesus was fully man. He looked, walked, and talked like a man. After His resurrection, Jesus was reunited with the Father and the Spirit, and His glory surpassed all human understanding.

Still, there had to be more to it, right? After all, Cleopas and Mary recognized Jesus later when they were at home having dinner. So what changed?

First, let us recall the line at the beginning of the passage in which Jesus joined them on their walk, “but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”  At the time, “they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.” Mary was one of the women at the tomb whom the angels informed that Jesus had risen from the dead, but how could they have grasped such a thing? How could any of us, after witnessing the crucifixion, fully understand the resurrection? They were so lost in thought, and likely still ensconced in such grief, they didn’t even recognize the glorified Lord. But this does not explain why Jesus prevented them from recognizing Him. Truthfully, Jesus often appears to us in this way.

Jesus in the Eucharist

Too many people fail to recognize Jesus. They don’t see Him in creation, in other people, and certainly not in the bread and wine we receive at Mass. Yet, that is precisely when the couple came to see and recognize the Lord. In the breaking and blessing of the bread, their eyes were opened, and they knew the Lord was in their midst.

But why does Jesus then disappear? Why does He vanish from their sight when they finally know it’s Him? Because Jesus, the man, is no longer needed. His presence on Earth was transcended by His glory. He is no longer with us in the form of a human because He comes to us in the bread and wine. We only need to recognize Him to have our sight fully restored.

 

Prayer:

Dearest Jesus, forgive us when we don’t recognize You. Help us to see You in the poor, the lonely, the depressed, and the brokenhearted. Most of all, let us see You in the bread and wine, Your true Body and Blood, offered in the Eucharist. Amen.

Call to Action:

Re-read this scripture today, and put yourself in the place of Cleopas and Mary. Imagine not recognizing Jesus in your midst. Then try to recall the times in your life when you failed to recognize Jesus in others. Go to Mass or Adoration and let your eyes see the true Christ in the Eucharist.

 

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