“…As they (Luke and Cleopas) came near the village to which they were going (Emmaus), he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him…” (Lk 24: 28-31)
On the way to Emmaus, two of Christ’s disciples, Luke and Cleopas, are joined by the risen Lord, Who “expounds to them in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Lk 24: 27). At this point, however, they do not recognize Him, although “their hearts burned within them” while He talked (Lk 24: 32).
Their eyes are finally opened, and they are given the gift of “seeing” Him only later, when “He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” His resurrection was the beginning of a new era, the time of the Church, in which we are given the gift of “seeing” Him on a new, sacramental level. We “see” Him in the sacraments, particularly in “the breaking of bread,” that is, the Eucharist.
My heart does indeed “burn,” hearing the Word of God. But this Word prepares me for a deeper “vision,” to “see” the risen Lord as these disciples “saw” Him, through physical participation in His “breaking of the bread.” This is why our Divine Liturgy consists first of the Liturgy of the Word, when we hear the Epistle and Gospel-readings, and then of the “blessing, breaking, and giving” of His Bread, in Holy Communion.
On this Sunday let me both hear His Word and partake at His table, as the disciples did. He can, and He does, open my eyes as He did theirs, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebr 13:8)