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The Gospel today narrates one of the appearances of the Risen Christ (Lk 24:

13-35) with the familiar feature of non-recognition of Jesus. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were expressing their disappointment: “…we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel”, (v21). But the Crucifixion was too much for them to handle. They could not comprehend why the Messiah had to suffer as he did. So Jesus expounded to them what referred to him in all scriptures (v27).

The verb “diermēneuō” (διερμήνεὐω) is rare (6x) and it is understood to mean to “expound or interpret”. In particular Luke refers to Jesus’ response to his disciples, expounding, interpreting for them the Christological focus of the entire Old Testament canon which points unambiguously to him as its fulfillment. What makes it difficult for them to see this beforehand is the fact that there are no specific texts cited to support that view. The notion of a ‘suffering messiah’ is not found in the OT or any texts of pre-Christian Judaism (according to biblical scholars). The disciples may indeed be familiar with the scriptures but interpreting them as an attestation to how Jesus’ salvific role was achieved is often done with an “after the event” (post eventu) rereading, a common procedure in Jewish exegesis. Even Jesus, in his farewell discourses in John, knows that it would be too much for them to take whatever he is telling them. But he promised them to send the Spirit who will teach everything and remind them what he told them (John 14:26).

In this episode, Jesus is intent on teaching the disciples the “correct” meaning of the scriptures. They know the scriptures but did not understand them. The sense of Christ’s words to the two disciples is that from one end of the Hebrew Scriptures to the other they bear testimony about him and his fate, for “Christ is the goal and the center of all Scriptures” Thus there is a general convergence of the scriptures on the death and resurrection of Christ (vv27,44). From here Luke indicates that it was vital to the life of the early church to place Jesus within the framework of God’s design, as the meeting point of the law and the prophets (9:30).

Our faith is anchored on the resurrection of Christ: “If Christ has not been raised, then…empty, too, your faith” (1 Cor 15:14). But we cannot come to faith unless our ‘eyes are opened, through the expounding of the scriptures, and the breaking of the bread’ (Lk 24:27, 30-32). In life, too, we may not be able to comprehend the events that happen in our lives. We have to ask the Lord to “stay with us” to illuminate our nights and guide our days throughout the entire journey of our life. Amen.

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