Today’s Gospel has some surprises for the disciples going to Emmaus. The first is that Luke tells us Jesus appeared to them, “but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16). Now I don’t think Jesus was wearing glasses like Clark Kent. More likely, they were prevented by their lack of faith. They knew that Jesus had died, so this man who looked familiar couldn’t be him. All they had heard was that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb. Luke says they were debating, as if they couldn’t decide what to believe.
That leads to the second point. No, they were not surprised that the stranger could quote scripture. Most Jewish men were familiar with the scriptures, but they were amazed at how Jesus explained them. Even the disciples had not thought of them as predicting Jesus’ suffering and death. Yet they seem to know the truth of what Jesus was saying. Their hearts were burning with the re of the Holy Spirit, who helped them to understand the new meaning of scripture. Their story can help us, too.
If you find you are not always able to see Jesus in the people or events of your life, you may need to stretch your faith. One way to do that is to discuss it with others. The two disciples were stretching their faith as they discussed what they had heard. Even better, debate it with someone who doesn’t believe. (Remember to keep it friendly.) You may not convince them to change, but your faith will grow as you learn to express it. Another way to stretch your faith is to read and pray over the scriptures. Ask what God is trying to tell you in them. The disciples on the way to Emmaus began to see how Jesus ful lled the promises found there. Passages that may have been mysterious before began to become clear when applied to Jesus.
Ask God to help you see Jesus in other people. Receive Jesus in Communion as often as you can (at least once a week). Trust him and expect to see Jesus both in the people around you and in the changes that come into your life. The more you look for Jesus, the easier it is to see him.
© J. S. Paluch Co.