Sunday, May 4, 2014

Their eyes were blocked

No matter how many times we read the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus,there is always something more to be found.
Why is it that the disciples did not recognize him?

We know from other gospels that it was a true resurrection. The body was his own physical body. Remember that he ate to prove to the disciples that he was not a ghost. This was not some new "spiritual body."

Look at the verse itself it says that

"their eyes were blocked so that they did not recognize him."

It does not say who or what blocked their eyes. If Jesus did it why does it not say so? Ex. 9:12 says clearly that God hardened Pharoah's heart. It was all part of the plan. In this case there is no such statement. The Spanish translation of the Bible on the Vatican website says, "algo impedía", something impeded there sight.

Before we jump to supernatural causes, perhaps we need to look at our own human nature. How often is there a truth right in front of us, but we don't see it? We not only have selective hearing, we have selective vision. We see what we expect to see, and we filter out what seems impossible or doesn't fit with what we believe. Or sometimes we are just to distracted to see what is in front of us.

As far as the disciples knew, Jesus was dead. They were getting away from Jerusalem. Emmaus is about 7 miles outside Jerusalem. The last thing they expected was to see Jesus. They were still deep in their own grief.

If we look closely you will notice that the sequence of events reflects the sequence we follow each time we celebrate mass. First there is the unfolding of the story, the Liturgy of the Word. Then they recognize him in the breaking of the bread, the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Each Sunday we encounter Christ in the sacrament, and then we leave. We go out into the world. We get busy with life. How many people do we pass during the week?

Can we ever know how many of those are moments of encounter with Christ? Not really. The only safe path is for us is to look for that presence of Christ in the face of every one of them. To treat every one with the same respect we would show Jesus.

The more we listen to his word, the more we share in the breaking of the bread in the Eucharist the more preparer we will be for the encounter on the road.