How do you respond to missed expectations with your spouse, friends or boss? Many of us sometimes meet these moments with anger, sadness, frustration or even distrust. More importantly, how do we respond to our unmet expectations of God? I dare say we may sometimes respond in the same way. In today’s gospel reading, we read of the famous encounter of the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus. Here we learn of two disciples whom Christ meets on the afternoon of the resurrection. We are told that they are discussing the volatile past week (Holy Week) in a depressed and confused manner when they are interrupted by the Lord.
We read that Christ’s identity is hidden as He converses with the two disciples, and we discover that these disciples did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, the God-Man. Instead, we learn they expected a political leader to redeem Israel by overthrowing the Romans. Jesus rebukes and then teaches the disciples through the prefigurements of the Old Testament the true purpose of the Messiah, that He had come to suffer to redeem humanity from sin and death.
He then celebrates the first Eucharist with them since Holy Thursday: “Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them”, notice this takes place after the unpacking of scripture. The disciples’ “…eyes were opened and they recognised him” at the breaking of the bread. They had seen the risen Christ at the reception of the Eucharist.
We learn from St Luke’s Gospel that these disciples had a misconception of who Christ was and the purpose He came for. We learn that Christ opens their eyes through Holy Scripture and the Eucharist. How often do we misperceive Christ’s involvement in our surrounding circumstances?
Maybe we believe in the midst of the moment that Christ’s providence is lacking in our sufferings, or that He is here to remove our sufferings. However, from what happened at Emmaus, we learn that Christ is God in the flesh through whom all things were created and that His primary mission was not to set us free from our discomforts, but from sin and death. We learn that in the Mass we can receive the grace, by the reading of scripture and the reception of the Eucharist, that our eyes can see Christ in the midst of our turmoil. That it is in the reception of Christ’s blood and flesh we can say, “Whatever happens to me, sweet or bitter, I gladly receive from His hands as what is best for me”.
Perhaps this week when life seems out of control, we might have the courage to re-centre our eyes to Christ in the Mass.
(source: Henry Martin)
Deacon Isaac Falzon