APRIL 7. WED. AFTER EASTER. Lk. 24. 13-25
Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. 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. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished. Then they said, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.
It is interesting to note in today’s reading, as in yesterday’s reading with St. Mary Magdalene, that Jesus was again “not recognised” by those to whom he was appearing, but today I think we are being told why!
“You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ The problem is a reluctance to believe what they had been told and, as a result, Christ is pointing out their “foolishness!”
This is a situation that continues to be an issue today, where what we are told, by the Son of God, is so far outside our “comfort zone” we are “slow to believe!” Do we really need to deny ourselves? Do we really need to love our enemies? Is God’s Will really so important etc? Sadly, like today’s disciples we tend to follow our own way of thinking; - rather than the way that has been taught, and lived, by Christ?
I think the words Christ could legitimately use, were he to appear among us today, would be “You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message given to you in the Gospels!”