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Disciples at Emmaus with Jesus

Today the Church gives us again the famous Gospel passage from Luke in which he records the incident of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and how they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. We shall hear this again in a couple of Sundays. It is a rather long citation, longer than we are usually used to. But to get the whole picture we need to keep the whole event in mind. It offers what the risen Lord taught his disciples but we wish there was more. The part I want you to focus on today is the part where Jesus explained the scriptures to the two. It really does not tell us chapter and verse of the Old Testament. And when our curiosity gets the better of us we come away puzzled even more when we cannot find a specific verse that says: The Messiah must suffer. Scripture scholars cannot find one either. This leaves us with the great desire to find exactly what Jesus did and what he talked about regarding the scriptures because in some of our Eucharistic Prayers it is explicitly stated that at Mass Jesus opens the scriptures for us. What did he do on the way toe Emmaus right away on Easter? (There are other time that he did the same.)

So we turn to our experts in the Old Testament — our Jewish friends. We ask: If you had to sum up in a sentence or two what best expresses what the whole of the scriptures is about? What is it that runs through Moses and the prophets? What do you sing of in your psalms the most? They would say: Yahweh loves his people. The love of God for us is supreme and we sing: Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his faithful covenant love endures for ever. Jesus sang this the night before he died. Jesus lived this every day. His entire life — everything he said and did — revealed his Father’s love. So it is fair to say that Jesus’ death and resurrection tells us that according to the Father’s love he has conquered death for us in the face of great human hatred and revenge. Jesus himself explicitly said this at the Last Supper: You are my friends, the ones I love. If you love me my Father and I will love you and abide in you. You will see this when I die and rise because there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for those he loves. This is the scriptures Old and New. We will come back to this shortly. The disciples at Emmaus caught on to this that very first Easter.

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