Will You Recognize Him?

Sunday, April 18th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

This weekend is the Third Sunday of Easter. In addition to celebrating all Christ did for us this Easter season, we also are reminded of how His sacrifice impacts our lives.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus should be the center of our lives. This passage begins with two disciples realizing Jesus had just appeared to them. They had been traveling on Easter Afternoon from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus – about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were troubled and in grief after witnessing Jesus’ arrest, conviction, and execution as a common criminal. Jesus came among them – though unrecognized – and walked with them on their journey. He asked the two about their discussion and they related to him all that took place the previous days. Jesus explained the Scriptures to them and how these events were a part of God’s plan of salvation for the world. They invited Jesus to stay with them. At meal, Jesus took bread, blessed it and gave it to them as he did with the cup of wine. He was revealed to the disciples and he disappeared.

We can learn a valuable lesson from these disciples. To recognize Jesus’ appearances in our lives, we need to know Him. And the best way to know the Lord is to spend time with Him. It can start with just 10 minutes of quiet prayer a day and increasing that each week. We might begin by reading Scripture, books on the lives of the Saints, or even a decade of the Rosary. Yet the goal should be to carve out time each day, in a quiet space, for just you and the Lord.

After Jesus departed these disciples immediately returned to Jerusalem and reported what had happened to them on the road to Emmaus. As the disciples mentioned, they recognized it was Jesus in the breaking of the bread. We, too, can better know the Lord through the sacraments, most especially the Holy Mass. The Eucharist is Jesus Himself — Body, Blood Soul, and Divinity. What better way to grow in intimacy with Jesus than to receive Him frequently or to go talk to Him in front of the Blessed Sacrament? As we make Jesus the center of our lives through prayer and the sacraments, we will be able to recognize Him in day-to-day moments.

As we are still in the Easter season, let us take some time to think about all that Jesus Christ has done for us and how we might change our daily lives so that we will grow closer to Him. Then as the Gospel tells us that Jesus’ “name must be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. We are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48)