On Easter Sunday afternoon two followers of Jesus, walking to a town called Emmaus, meet Jesus alive, risen from the dead. (To see the words of the gospel, click here.) It is a lovely story. So let me tell the story and then give you some ideas.
It is Easter Sunday afternoon. Remember: Before, on Friday Jesus suffered awfully dying on the cross. All his friends and followers were very sad, depressed; all hope was lost. Then early on Sunday morning some women came and told them, “The tomb is empty; the body of Jesus is gone. Angels said Jesus is alive.” These two followers, Cleopas and another, his wife maybe, were going back home to Emmaus; they were feeling confused, depressed, understanding nothing.
The two walk on the road and a third person joins them. (Who? It is Jesus alive, but the two do not know him.) The stranger asks them, “Why are you so sad?”
Notice: Jesus begins; he starts to talk with them. Jesus is first. The Lord always begins to touch us, influence us, open our minds and hearts. Jesus is always first. Sometimes we think we are the first to begin. No. Always Jesus begins.
The stranger asks them, “Why are you so sad?” They are surprised and say, “You do not know what happened on Friday? Our leaders crucified Jesus. He was a wonderful man, powerful; he did so much good. We hoped Jesus would save all the people. Today some women came and told us his body is not in the tomb. We thought the women were very upset, a little crazy. So we left; now we are going back home.”
Then the stranger, Jesus, takes a Bible and says, “Read here. It says the savior had to suffer all of this, why? To accomplish what God the Father wanted.” Jesus reads from the Bible to explain about Jesus and his life and his death.
Notice: The Bible, the word of God, explains everything to us. It explains what God wants, how God lets things happen, why God lets things happen.
The two are very excited. They slowly begin to understand more clearly. They understand more about Jesus, how? By reading the Bible.
Notice: The two learned more and more, how? By reading the word of God, the Scriptures, the Bible.
The three are walking on the road. The two want to stop to eat; the man (Jesus) wants to continue walking. The two ask him, “Please, come, join us; eat with us.” He joins the two. During the meal the man takes bread; he thanks and praises God, breaks the bread and gives it to them and says, “Take, eat, this is my body.”
Notice: At the meal on Easter Sunday afternoon, Jesus does the same thing Jesus did on Thursday night at the Last Supper. On Thursday he took bread, broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” On Thursday Jesus gave them his Body. On Easter Sunday afternoon Jesus gives them his Body. “Breaking Bread” means the Mass, Holy Communion, the Eucharist.
When Jesus broke the bread and said the words, “This is my Body,” the two immediately understood the man was Jesus alive again with them, not a ghost, but Jesus really there, really alive. Then Jesus left them.
Notice: In the story there are two parts. First Jesus taught them from the Bible, and second he broke bread with them; Jesus gave them his Body. Exactly the same happens in our Mass. We learn about Jesus from reading the Bible and from the words the priest tells us. Then Jesus gives us his Body in Holy Communion. Jesus wanted his followers to know he was alive again; he showed them, how? He had a Mass, Breaking of Bread, with his friends. The two met Jesus in their first Mass; we meet Jesus now in our Mass.
The two are so excited; they run back to Jerusalem to tell the others everything that happened. Jesus is alive and they know Jesus is alive and with them again, how? In the Breaking of Bread, the Mass, the Eucharist, Holy Communion.