Thursday, 25 September 2014

St Luke 24:13-35

St Luke:

13 Et ecce duo ex illis ibant ipsa die in castellum, quod erat in spatio stadiorum sexaginta ab Jerusalem, nomine Emmaus. 14 Et ipsi loquebantur ad invicem de his omnibus quæ acciderant. 15 Et factum est, dum fabularentur, et secum quærerent: et ipse Jesus appropinquans ibat cum illis: 16 oculi autem illorum tenebantur ne eum agnoscerent. 17 Et ait ad illos: Qui sunt hi sermones, quos confertis ad invicem ambulantes, et estis tristes? 18 Et respondens unus, cui nomen Cleophas, dixit ei: Tu solus peregrinus es in Jerusalem, et non cognovisti quæ facta sunt in illa his diebus? 19 Quibus ille dixit: Quæ? Et dixerunt: De Jesu Nazareno, qui fuit vir propheta, potens in opere et sermone coram Deo et omni populo: 20 et quomodo eum tradiderunt summi sacerdotes et principes nostri in damnationem mortis, et crucifixerunt eum: 21 nos autem sperabamus quia ipse esset redempturus Israël: et nunc super hæc omnia, tertia dies est hodie quod hæc facta sunt. 22 Sed et mulieres quædam ex nostris terruerunt nos, quæ ante lucem fuerunt ad monumentum, 23 et non invento corpore ejus, venerunt, dicentes se etiam visionem angelorum vidisse, qui dicunt eum vivere. 24 Et abierunt quidam ex nostris ad monumentum: et ita invenerunt sicut mulieres dixerunt, ipsum vero non invenerunt.25 Et ipse dixit ad eos: O stulti, et tardi corde ad credendum in omnibus quæ locuti sunt prophetæ! 26 Nonne hæc oportuit pati Christum, et ita intrare in gloriam suam? 27 Et incipiens a Moyse, et omnibus prophetis, interpretabatur illis in omnibus scripturis quæ de ipso erant. 28 Et appropinquaverunt castello quo ibant: et ipse se finxit longius ire. 29 Et coëgerunt illum, dicentes: Mane nobiscum, quoniam advesperascit, et inclinata est jam dies. Et intravit cum illis. 30 Et factum est, dum recumberet cum eis, accepit panem, et benedixit, ac fregit, et porrigebat illis. 31 Et aperti sunt oculi eorum, et cognoverunt eum: et ipse evanuit ex oculis eorum. 32 Et dixerunt ad invicem: Nonne cor nostrum ardens erat in nobis dum loqueretur in via, et aperiret nobis Scripturas? 33 Et surgentes eadem hora regressi sunt in Jerusalem: et invenerunt congregatos undecim, et eos qui cum illis erant, 34 dicentes: Quod surrexit Dominus vere, et apparuit Simoni. 35 Et ipsi narrabant quæ gesta erant in via, et quomodo cognoverunt eum in fractione panis.

[13] And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. [14] And they talked together of all these things which had happened. [15] And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. [16] But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. [17] And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? [18] And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? [19] To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; [20] And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him.[21] But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. [22] Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, [23] And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. [24] And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. [25] Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken.[26] Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? [27] And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. [28] And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. [29] But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. [30] And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them.[31] And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. [32] And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? [33] And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, [34] Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. [35] And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.

Commentary

...Ver. 16.—But their eyes were holden. You will ask, How was this effected?

1. Dionysius the Carthusian replies, and S. Augustine (lib. xxii. chap. 9 De Civit.) favours his opinion, that they were struck with blindness like the men of Sodom, Gen. xix. 11. But this can hardly be true, for they saw Christ, and conversed with Him, although they knew Him not.
2. Cajetan thinks that their eyes were holden because their minds were so preoccupied, and taken up with the events which had come to pass. But the words of S. Mark xvi. 12, “He appeared in another form” are against this view.
3. S. Augustine (Epist. 59, Quæst. viii.) is of opinion that some change had come over the countenance of Christ, as at the transfiguration. But this does not accord with the dignity of his glorified body, which is changeless and everlasting. Later on, Augustine (De Consens. Evang. iii. chap. 25) changed his opinion and says that the eyes of the disciples were clouded over by Satan, or a darkness of some kind cast upon them, so that they might not recognise Christ. But, like as He appeared to the Magdalen in the form of a gardener, so he appeared to the two disciples in another form. The circumstances of His appearance were in accordance with His will and uninfluenced by the action of Satan.

I say, therefore, that they did not know the Lord, because although the body of Christ is unchanged, yet because it was glorified and united to the divine Word it possessed the power both of withdrawing itself from view, and also of affecting the sight of beholders either by appearing in a different form, by changing the medium as mirrors do, and even by a direct change of vision. For this is what, S. Luke says, “their eyes were holden,” by Jesus, just as if they had been covered by a veil so that they were unable to exercise their functions. Hence immediately that Jesus willed, they recognised Him.
It is much more easy to account for the fact that the disciples did not recognise the voice of Christ, for many without any difficulty so change the sound of their voices as to appear other than they are.  S. Thomas, Suarez, and others.

There are several reasons why Christ appeared in another form to these disciples.

1. Because Christ and the angels when they appear to men make themselves like those to whom they appear. The two disciples were journeying: Christ therefore appeared to them as a wayfarer. They were in doubt concerning Him: therefore He made as if He were a stranger. So S. Augustine (de Consens. Evang. iii. 35) and S. Gregory (hom. 23 in Evang.) say, “The Lord did that outwardly in the eyes of the body which was done by themselves inwardly in the eyes of the mind. For they themselves inwardly both loved and doubted, but to them the Lord was present outwardly, although He did not reveal himself. To them, therefore, as they talked of Him He exhibited His presence, but as they doubted of Him He concealed the appearance which they knew. He indeed conversed with them, upbraided them with their hardness of heart, expounded the mysteries of holy Scripture which referred to Himself, yet because in their hearts He was a stranger to their faith, He made as though He would have gone further.”
2. Lest, if He at once manifested himself to the disciples they might be overcome by the novelty and newness of His resurrection, and imagine that they saw not Christ but a phantom, and therefore might remain doubtful whether He had risen from the dead. But now since He had conversed with them for some time, and then made Himself known, they could no longer doubt that He had risen from the dead.
3. “That the disciples might lay bare their sorrows and be cured of their doubt.” Theophylact. For if He had at once said that He was Christ, they would not have dared to confess that they had been doubtful of the resurrection.
4. That from the circumstances of His appearance He might teach us that we are pilgrims and strangers, seeking an heavenly country, which we should be ever longing for, and strive our utmost to obtain. Wherefore S. Francis, who happened on a certain occasion to be spending his Easter in a monastery, where there were none of whom he could ask charity, mindful of our Lord’s appearance to the two disciples in the form of a stranger on that very day, asked alms of the brothers themselves; and when he had received their alms, in a burst of sacred eloquence, he reminded them with all humility, that on their way through the desert of this world as strangers and pilgrims, like the true Israel they should in all lowliness of mind continue to celebrate the Passover of the Lord, i.e. their passage from this world to the Father; and he went on to inform them that it is the pilgrim’s rule to seek shelter under the roof of others, to thirst for their own country; and peacefully journey thereunto. (Chronicle of the order of S. Francis)...

Ver. 19.—And He said unto them, What things? Christ constrains them to open their grief and to confess their doubts as to His resurrection.

And they said unto him, concerning Jesus of Nazareth. They acknowledge Him, says Bede, to be a great prophet, but they do not speak of Him as the Son of God, either because their faith was imperfect, or because they feared lest they might fall into the hands of the persecuting Jews. For they knew not with whom they were speaking and therefore concealed what they believed to be true. Because they say (verse 21) that they trusted that it had been he, as being the Messiah and the Son of God, which should have redeemed Israel.

Mighty in deed and in ward. So should every Christian be, especially those who have devoted themselves to a religious life, or have been called to any office in the Church. What they preach they should perform, and teach first by example and then by word.

Ver. 20.—And how the chief priests, and our rulers delivered him, &c. They do not accuse the chief priests and the rulers, although they were persuaded of the injustice of their actions. For they feared lest this stranger might be a spy, seeking some cause of accusation against them.

Ver. 21.—But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel from the power of their enemies, e.g., from the power of the Romans.

“We trusted that he had been the Messiah who would have restored the kingdom of Israel to the same, or even greater, dignity than it had possessed in the time of David and of Solomon. But now that he has been so unworthily put to death, although we do not despair, we have but little hope.”
This was their grief, the wound which their faith had received, which Christ desired to hear from them, in order to heal.

“0 disciples,” says S. Augustine (serm. 140 De Temp.), “ye were hoping, therefore ye do not now hope. Behold Christ lives, but your hope within you is dead;” and again, “He was walking with them as their companion, and yet was their leader and guide.”
And beside all this, to-day is the third day, &c. For Christ was crucified on the sixth day, and after three days rose from the dead. This is an aposiopesis, for the disciples, anxious and perplexed, knowing not what to think about Christ, as good as say, ‘Jesus when He was alive said that He would rise from the dead on the third day; but although this is the third day we know not whether He has risen or is yet to rise.” They were doubtful, balanced between hope and fear. “They speak thus,” says Theophylact, “as men in doubt, and seem to me to be very undecided in their minds, for they are not absolutely unbelieving, nor do they believe aright. For their words ‘we trusted that it had been he,’ &c., indicate incredulity, but when they make mention of the third day, they show themselves mindful of the words of Christ, ‘on the third day I shall rise again;’” and again, “On the whole they spake as men in perplexity and doubt.”...

Ver. 26.—Ought not Christ . . . to enter into His glory? He calls His glorious resurrection and ascension, the sending of the Holy Spirit, His exaltation over every creature, the adoration of His name, the spread of the gospel throughout all the world, and His eternal kingdom, “glory.”
“Ought not,” (“futurum erat,” the Arabic and Syriac). It behoved Christ through the Cross to enter glory:
1. Because the prophets had foretold it.
2. Because God the Father had decreed it from all eternity.
3. Because it was necessary that He should purchase our redemption by His death upon the Cross.
4. Because it was fitting that such glory should be obtained through the merit of such sufferings and labour.
5. Because it behoved Christ, as leader, to become an example to the martyrs, and to all those who strive through much tribulation to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The meaning is, “My death upon the Cross has shaken your faith and hope in My resurrection, therefore ye said ‘we trusted’ (sperabamus). But ye spake rashly and without cause. For this ought to have confirmed your faith, for there is none other way to the resurrection save through death, nor to glory save through suffering, and the reproach of the Cross.”...

Ver. 30.—He took bread and blessed it. He blessed it by causing it to become His body as in the consecration of the Eucharist. For that Christ thus consecrated it, although Jansenius and some others deny it, is clear:

1. Because S. Matthew, S. Mark, and S. Luke use the same words concerning the institution of the Eucharist, as S. Luke uses here.
2. Because this blessing does not appear to have been given it the commencement of the meal, for Christ wished not to vanish out of their sight before He had eaten with them, lest they might think him a phantom. It was given in the midst, or rather at the end, of the meal. It was not therefore the ordinary blessing on what had been provided for their use, but solemn and eucharistic.
3. This is clear also from the effect which this blessing of the bread had upon the disciples. “their eyes were opened and they knew Him.”
4. Furthermore, this is the opinion of the great majority of the Fathers. So the author quoted by S. Chrysostom (Hom. 17) says, “The Lord not only blessed the bread, but gave it with His own hand to Cleopas and his companion. But that which is given by His hand is not only sanctified, but sanctification and a cause of sanctity to the recipient.”

Again, “How did the Lord will to make Himself known? By the breaking of bread. We are content then; in the breaking of bread the Lord is made known unto us. In no other way is it His will to reveal Himself. Therefore, although we shall not see Him in bodily form, He has given us His flesh to eat.” S. Augustine (Serm. 140 De Temp.)

This passage of Holy Scripture is a proof of the use of one species only in the Eucharist, for it is clear that Christ neither consecrated nor gave the cup to the disciples. After He had blessed the bread, and given it to them, they knew Him, and immediately He vanished out of their sight.  S. Augustine, Chrysostom, Bede and others....

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