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Jacob Boddicker S.J.Apr 3, 2024 12:00:00 AM2 min read

3 April 2024

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Why could they not see that it was Jesus walking along with them to Emmaus? Our Gospel says that “…their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.” How so? The Gospel does not say, but Scripture perhaps gives us two insights into what was blinding them. Notice when Jesus asks what they are discussing we read that they looked “…downcast…” and one asks if Jesus is the only person in town who has not heard what happened. They express their disappointment at His death, as they had begun to believe He was the Messiah, yet even though there is word that the tomb is empty and He is risen, they cannot believe. Jesus even says, “How foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!”

And thus we come to the teaching of St. Paul: “We walk by faith, not by sight…” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and faith, he writes to the Romans, “…comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ,” (Romans 10:17). So Jesus relates to them everything in the Scriptures that they had heard before but not believed. Thus as they were walking to Emmaus, doubting all that they had heard before—even the word of the women who saw angels and the empty tomb!—without faith, they could not see Jesus. They literally could not believe their own eyes.

What else blinded them? “Blessed are the clean of heart,” Jesus taught, “for they shall see God,” (Matthew 5:8). Their hearts were slow to believe; they were fearful, uncertain, unconvinced, too clouded in their hearts to be able to see Jesus in the midst of everything else they were focused upon. Is it any wonder “…their eyes were prevented from recognizing him?” “Blessed are you,” Jesus once said to Peter, “for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father,” (Matthew 16:17). Peter, in that moment of faith at Caesarea Philippi, saw Jesus for Who He Is; the disciples on the road to Emmaus could not, as they lacked faith, and the eyes of their hearts were closed. Thus Jesus healed their blindness not merely with the Scriptures that their faith might be awakened, but by dining with them, by praying and breaking bread with them as He had done at the Last Supper (compare Luke 24:30 with Luke 22:19) He opened the eyes of their hearts, “…and they recognized him…he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”