“And it happened that, while Jesus was with two of his disciples at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
This passage is taken from the final chapter of Luke’s Gospel (chapter 24, verses 30-32 and 35). It is one of the most poignant accounts of the disciples’ encounter with Jesus after his resurrection from the dead. In order to get the fuller context, I would recommend that you read the story beginning with verse 13, and onwards. These verses tell of Jesus’ appearance to two of his disciples while they were on the road to Emmaus, a village not far from Jerusalem. While the disciples were conversing and debating about recent events that took place in Jerusalem, Jesus “drew near and walked with them,” but him they did not recognize. The disciples recounted the events to their mysterious companion. Jesus then interpreted to them what was spoken about him by the prophets in the Scriptures. It wasn’t until the close of day, when they were together at table—at the breaking and sharing of the bread—that the disciples recognized that it was Jesus, who has been with them all along.
We are still in the Easter Season but our school year is almost over. As we draw closer to the end of this academic year, I invite you to reflect on your journey at St. Lawrence. I invite you to recall the times when you experienced a low point in life. It may perhaps be a time when you encountered difficulties, failures, and hopelessness— over an exam, performance in sports or competition, a personal struggle. Then, I invite you to look more closely and more deeply into those experiences and discover when the Lord was there in those moments but you couldn’t see him, or that your eyes were prevented from recognizing him, because you were blinded by your own preoccupation with frustration, anger, or despair. What this Lucan passage reminds us is that the Lord is always at our side—even and especially—during those low moments in life. The Lord works in mysterious ways—in the comforting words of family or friends, in the wise counsel of a teacher or mentor, through the faithful guidance of a confessor or spiritual director. The Lord gives us hope
when it seems as if hope has vanished.
When we open our hearts to God and see the world around us through the eyes of faith, when we come together at the table of the Lord and do faithfully what the Lord has commanded us to do in memory of him, then we will recognize that the Lord is here. We may not see him with our own eyes, we shall realize that he has been with us all along. That is when we truly experience the joy, the hope, and the glory of his resurrection in our everyday lives.