THE SERVANT GENERAL
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
THE EMMAUS EXPERIENCE
Today’s gospel: Luke 24:13-35
Many Catholics today, nominal in their faith, do not really
know Jesus, and as such, do not live his way of life nor participate
in the task of making him known to others. As part of their
ignorance or nominalism, many Catholics do not go to Sunday
Mass. Since the Eucharist is at the core of the life of a
Catholic, they miss out on so much that the Mass has to offer,
including grace, empowerment and Christian formation.
can a nominal Catholic truly meet and get to know Jesus? It
is through participation in the Eucharist and understanding
what it stands for and teaches us.
Two disciples were walking to Emmaus when the risen Jesus
joined them, but they failed to recognize him (v.16). It was
when they were having supper, as Jesus took the bread, and
blessed, broke and gave it to them, that “their eyes
were opened and they recognized him” (v.31a). Jesus
“was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
the same way, Jesus is made known to us in the Eucharistic
celebration or the Mass.
the Eucharist is a commemoration of the sacrificial death
of Jesus on the cross and a celebration of his resurrection.
These are at the very core of our faith. Christians are followers
of the Christ who was crucified, died and rose up again. We
remember how the “chief priests and rulers both handed
him over to a sentence of death and crucified him” (v.20),
but on the third day, angels “announced that he was
alive” (v.23c), and his disciples said, “The Lord
has truly been raised” (v.34a). And being raised, Jesus
will return once again. Thus at every Eucharist, we relive
the mystery of faith.
the two main parts of the Mass are the Liturgy of the Word
and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the former we listen
to the word of God. This is the very word of God, spoken to
us for our enlightenment, education, formation and transformation.
The Bible is about God’s work of salvation, from creation
(start of the Old Testament) to final glory (end of the New
Testament). Through the years involving numerous Sunday Masses,
Jesus teaches us about faith in him. “Then beginning
with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what
referred to him in all the scriptures.” (v.27). The
readings are intended by God to touch our very beings. “Were
not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the
way and opened the scriptures to us?” (v.32). St Jerome
says that ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
The Mass helps us overcome such ignorance.
the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the high point, where we receive
the very body and blood of Jesus. At Mass, there is a re-enactment
of the last supper, where Jesus “took bread, said the
blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” (v.30b). Jesus
is the Bread of Life. The Eucharistic bread is God’s
way of granting us abundant graces, of strengthening us, of
empowering us, of helping us endure and persevere. It is how
we can cope with the struggles and challenges of the week,
until we are filled once again in the next Sunday Mass. Understanding
what Jesus offers is about, it is how our eyes will be opened
and we will truly recognize Jesus (v.31a).
at the end of the Mass we are sent forth, to bring Christ’s
peace into the world and to participate in the work of proclaiming
the salvation of Jesus to others. As the two disciples “set
out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered
together the eleven and those with them” (v.33), we
too leave the church and get back to the world, and together
with our brethren and fellow apostles (those who are sent),
we share Christ with all.
The Eucharist is also God’s way of bringing His people
to unity and peace. In the Church right now there is a lot
of division. There are different opinions about important
aspects of the faith, even among theologians and those in
the hierarchy. There are the liberals and the conservatives.
There are those Catholics, especially in the western world,
who are supportive of aspects of the culture of death, including
contraception, divorce, and even abortion and same-sex unions.
can all Catholics be brought to the truth? They need to be
brought back to Christ. They need to be able to focus not
on their own opinions and preferences but to what is right
in Christ. They need to experience once again walking intimately
with Jesus. “And it happened that while they were conversing
and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them”
still for many, “their eyes were prevented from recognizing
him.” (v.16). Because of our own sin, the weakness of
our flesh, the allure of the world, the enticements of Satan,
we fail to recognize our Lord and what he truly teaches. We
may even hear Jesus chastising us, “Oh, how foolish
you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets
spoke!” (v.25). This is why we need the Eucharist. There
we will see Jesus. There we will receive Jesus. There we will
be formed according to the mind and heart of Jesus. “So
he went in to stay with them.” (v.29b). Then we will
always be with Jesus, as he stays in our bodies and in our
After sharing the bread with the two disciples, Jesus “vanished
from their sight.” (v.31b). We too do not see Jesus
physically, but we are to see Jesus in the person of others,
especially the poor.
are to do a massive work of evangelization, especially focused
on the lost sheep. Our aim is for every Catholic to meet Christ,
to live Christ and to share Christ. For this, Catholics need
to return to Eucharistic communion, and be formed as a people
who have experienced and are continuing to experience the
salvation of Jesus.