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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Luke 24:13–35. Mark 16:12]

IT also happened that in the course of the same day two of the disciples went to Emmaus, and talked together of the events that had taken place in Jerusalem. Jesus suddenly joined them under the form of a stranger. He walked on with them, but they knew Him not. He asked them what these events were of which they spoke, and why they appeared so sad.

Then one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answered: “Art Thou alone a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days?” Then Jesus asked: “What things?” They replied: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet, and concerning our chief priests and rulers who crucified Him. Now to-day it is the third day since these things were done. Yea, some women, also of our company, who have been at the sepulchre, say He is alive.

 

Fig. 93. Emmaus. (Phot. Bonfils.)

When Jesus had heard these words, He said to them: “O foolish and slow of heart to believe all the things which the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so enter into His glory?” Then, beginning with Moses and the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures that was said in relation to Himself.

When they reached Emmaus, He made as though he would go farther, but they pressed Him to remain with them, as the day was far spent. He remained accordingly. But when they sat down to table, He took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave it to them. And immediately their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. But He vanished from their sight. They then said to one another: “Was not our heart burning within us whilst He was walking in the way?”

The same evening they returned to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven gathered together, who exclaimed: “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.” The two disciples now told the apostles how they also had seen the Lord, and how they had known Him in the breaking of bread.

Further proofs of the Resurrection. The Lord had risen indeed, for He had appeared a) to Peter, and b) to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, conversing with these two last for a considerable time, and instructing them in the Faith. These form the third and fourth apparitions of Jesus after His Resurrection. His sudden mode of disappearance proved that His Body was glorified, subtle and agile.

The apparition to Peter. Our Lord appeared to St. Peter before any of the other apostles 1. to distinguish him as the chosen head of His Church; 2. to repay him for the greater love he bore Jesus than the others; 3. to assure him of His forgiveness, and to show to the whole world how pleasing to Him were Peter’s tears of contrition, and how willing He is to forgive repentant sinners.

The doctrine of the apostles is the doctrine of Jesus Christ. We see in this chapter how our Lord Himself instructed His apostles and disciples in the understanding of the Scriptures. All the explanations of the types, prophecies &c. which are to be found in the writings and discourses of the apostles are, therefore, to be regarded as the explanations of our Lord Himself.

Jesus Christ is the promised Redeemer, for in Him and through Him was fulfilled all that the prophets foretold about the Redeemer.

Faith must be entire. Our Lord rebuked the disciples because they, like the rest of the people who were misguided by the Pharisees, believed only in those prophecies which treated of the glory and power of the Messias, and ignored those which related to His humiliations, sufferings and death; and He expressly demanded of them that they should believe all that God had revealed through the prophets. So now God requires of us Catholics to believe, not only the truths which suit our inclinations, nor again only such truths as the Church has defined in the past, but every truth which the Church teaches now and may teach in the future.

The human nature of Jesus Christ obtained its glorified state (its Resurrection, Ascension, and place at the right hand of the Father) by the merits of its humiliations and sufferings. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so enter into His glory?” asked our Lord of the two disciples. Through His sufferings, the human nature of Jesus Christ won a share in that glory which the Son of God had with the Father before the world began (chapter LXVIII). St. Paul says (Phil. 2:8–11): “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient, even to the death of the Cross. For which cause, also, God hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a Name which is above all names, that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.” We, in the same manner, must win heaven by humility, patience and obedience. The way of the cross is the way to heaven.

Communion under one kind. Jesus gave His Body and Blood to the two disciples under the one form of bread, to be the Food and Nourishment of their souls.

Our hearts ought to burn within us each time we find ourselves in a church, in the Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and still more when we receive Him in Holy Communion.

The two disciples corresponded with grace, and therefore obtained further grace. When Jesus, whom they considered to be a stranger, asked them about what they were speaking together so earnestly, they confessed their belief that He whom the chief priests had given over to be crucified was no malefactor, but the promised Messias. And when our Lord reproached them for their want of faith, they accepted His reproof humbly. They thus made themselves worthy that our Lord should explain to them the types and prophecies, and so confirm their faith. And when, prompted partly by a kind solicitude for Him, and partly by a desire to profit further by His instructions, they invited the unknown stranger to eat and sleep at their house, our Lord gave them His Body to be the Food of their souls, and made Himself known to them “in the breaking of bread”. Thus all their doubts were set at rest, their faith was confirmed, and an unspeakable joy filled their hearts. “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

APPLICATION. If our Lord were to ask you what you were talking about as you walked along with your companions, what could you answer? Perhaps you were talking boastfully, or untruthfully, or immodestly, or abusing and ridiculing others, even those set in authority over you. “Let no evil speech proceed from your mouth, but that which is good to the edification of faith, that it may administer grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).








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