The Road To Emmaus and the Holy Eucharist

It doesn’t get much more obvious than this:

Luke 24:30-32

And it happened that, while he was with them 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?”

The two disciples from today’s Gospel were approached by Christ on the road to Emmaus on the afternoon of that first Easter Sunday. Yet they did not recognize Him. Christ preached to them and instructed them in the Scriptures, and still they did not recognize Him. Their hearts and minds were remained closed. It was only when Christ sat down with them in the evening and celebrated Mass (for that is what is meant by the blessing and the breaking of the bread) that they realized who it was sitting at their table, and were struck by the full significance of their earlier spiritual experiences. They had been with Christ all afternoon, but it was only when they received the Holy Eucharist from Him that they truly encountered Christ.

It is hard to stress just how important of a lesson this is. Spiritual practices such as prayer, fasting, study of the Sacred Scriptures, etc. are important, but just as with the two disciples, the only way to fully encounter Christ, to open our hearts and minds to Him, is by the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, which is nothing less than the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ Jesus. Christ reveals Himself to us physically and unites Himself with our very bodies every time we receive our Eucharistic Lord. By His Real Presence within us, we are filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and drawn deeply into the loving embrace of Our Lord. How incredible is that, and how blessed are we to whom this literally-miraculous opportunity is offered daily?!!

The next time you receive Holy Communion, allow the literalness of this familiar prayer to be more deeply impressed upon you:

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”

Amen.

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