Happy Easter! Did you know that Easter is an octave? That is right, Easter day lasts for EIGHT DAYS! Why? Only because it is the most important thing that happened in the history of the world, Reader-land!!!
I already have laid out my simple case for Catholicism, and Christianity. I add in the extreme sorrow at the death of over 300 Christians on Easter, murdered by terrorists because… Well, that’s another conversation.
But I want to talk about the disciples on the road to Emmaus. You remember, they left Jerusalem Sunday morning to travel back to Emmaus, and they were discussing and arguing among themselves about the events of that morning, namely, the Resurrection. Funny thing is, I have had this in draft for a year, and the Lanky Guys podcast does such an awesome job that I am stealing from them because I can’t find the episode! So yeah, stolen thoughts.
Let’s start with who they are. One is named, actually, Cleophas. The other is not. I posit that the other disciple is Mary, the wife of Cleophas, who is named in the other gospels. And, I posit to you that she is trying to convince her skeptical husband that Jesus was risen, as she may have been one of the first at the tomb with Mary Magdalen, if not a recipient of the news from that beautiful apostle to the apostles. Side note, Mary M is one of my favorite Saints, I have a third class relic on my rosary, and I love that the first open witness to the Resurrection wasn’t a king or high priest but a woman, who weren’t treated as equal to men in that society. Whoever says Christianity degrades women clearly hasn’t learned about how this woman probably was pelted with questions from the men who were closest to Jesus, who were hiding together in shame and fear for their own lives. “What did he look like? What did he say? What did the tomb look like?” I’m sure they didn’t believe her at first, probably until she said how Jesus said, “Mary“. And she knew.
Anyway, the point is there were physical people who saw, touched, believed, more than just one person. Can you imagine the respect we have for movie stars or politicians, Mary M had seen the risen Lord. The early Church probably looked at her with great respect and awe.
So, Mary the wife of Cleophas is trying to convince him that Jesus was risen, and he probably thought someone had taken the body. Then Jesus walks behind them for a while, he knows what they are discussing, but says “hey what are you guys talking about?”
What follows is a breakdown of the whole Old Testament, with all the puzzles solved, prophesies fulfilled, all nicely wrapped in a bow. Scripture, inspired by God, explained by God. That’s the Greatest Bible Study EVAR!
So they fell to the ground in awe and worship… What do you mean they didn’t? They knew the scriptures, right? So they worshipped!! No, you can’t tell me that isn’t what happened! It says they didn’t do that? Did they at least high five Jesus for rising from the dead? They didn’t even do that? Well, what did they do then?!? Invite him to stay with them for dinner and the evening, well at least they did that for Jesus! What do you mean, they didn’t know it was him?!?!
And here we are at the point where Bible study can’t take us. Being good Jews, they knew the scriptures, and that should have been enough. You would think. It’s often preached that way too. But they didn’t recognize Jesus until he blessed the bread, broke it, and shared to them. Now I speculate, where have we seen that before? The Last Supper! Also when he fed the many thousands. One might speculate also that the strange sayings during the Passover meal such as, This is my body, may have been related to other disciples who weren’t there.
Short answer, to me, is that they recognized him through the Eucharist. The Sacraments. Much maligned, and only held by Catholics, Sacraments are outward signs, instituted by Jesus, to give grace. Things he said and did, go and baptize all nations, what God has joined together let no man divide, who’s sins you forgive, I will send the Paraclete, do this in memory of me. Pretty powerful stuff, and if he wasn’t lying or crazy, then why wouldn’t we take him at his word?
The greatest Bible study ever can’t teach us the person of Jesus if we don’t encounter him as a person and through what he said.
So there’s another Easter thought for you.