Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

Recognizing the presence of Jesus

April 11, 2018

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

My favorite Easter story in the Gospel is the Emmaus story (Luke 24).  I am sure that you know this story.  Two of Jesus’ disciples – I think that they were a married couple – were walking home from Jerusalem to Emmaus following the crucifixion of Jesus.

As they walked along, the resurrected Jesus came along but the two disciples did not recognize that it was Jesus.  They were upset because of the crucifixion of Jesus.  They had hoped that Jesus would be the long-awaited redeemer but he had died.  Jesus – who they do not recognize – explains to them, “was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

We are then told that Jesus began to interpret for them all in the Scriptures.  Can you imagine!  This couple from Emmaus had a Scripture class from Jesus, himself.  I would have loved to have been there.

Today, I believe that Jesus often enters our lives and walks with us just like he did for that couple from Emmaus.

Jesus comes to guide us, to support us, to show us the way.  At first, we may not recognize that it is Jesus, however, when we see where we are being led and how we are being helped, we realize that it was certainly the Lord.

Often, it is completely a surprise, but, when our faith is strong and we are a praying people, we will experience the presence of the Lord. 

Then, in the Gospel story, when they come to Emmaus, this couple invites Jesus – who they still do not recognize – to come in and stay with them. 

The story goes on to tell us: “And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, and gave it to them. 

With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.”

We immediately recognized that this is the Blessed Eucharist.  As Jesus shares the Holy Eucharist with them, they recognize who he is– the Lord Jesus.  And, they realize that he has resurrected.

For us, today, as we join together for Mass we also recognize the presence of Jesus, the resurrected Lord. 

Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper so that we would remember his great love for us as demonstrated by his life, death and resurrection.  We are a loved people.  Each time we share in the Eucharist we again realize just how much we are loved.

Since the earliest days, this sacrament is called the Holy Eucharist.  The very word Eucharist means “thank you” making the Mass a celebration of gratitude.  It calls us to be a grateful people.  I remind you often of the words of Brother David “If you want to be happy, be grateful.”

The Blessed Eucharist leads us to live a life filled with gratitude.  When we understand this, we are truly transformed, we are better individuals, more alive in the love of the Lord. It makes us better people and we make our world better when we act in gratitude.

This story ends as Jesus leaves the two people of Emmaus.  They say to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us!” 

Each time we participate at Mass and hear the Scriptures and receive the Holy Eucharist our hearts should be burning within us.  I pray that this is your experience. 

I have often preached this at Mass: we should never leave Mass as the same person we were when we came in. We must be different after we have the spent this time with Jesus.

I often tell the story of the fellow who came up to me after Mass to tell me that nothing had happened to him, he wasn’t changed, he wasn’t different.  I immediately sent him back for another hour in Church – he missed something.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.