While excavating an ancient tomb in Egypt, two archeologists found an urn
containing food that was supposed to make you live forever. There was a part of
the instructions they couldn’t read, so they called in a professor of
ancient languages, who gave this translation: "Best if used before 5000 B.C."
There is only one food that gives eternal life–the Eucharist, and we hear
about it in the first lines of today’s Gospel. On Easter evening, two of
Christ’s disciples, discouraged by all that had happened on Good Friday, were
walking from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus, about seven miles away. Jesus,
disguising himself, appeared to them and explained the prophecies that foretold
his suffering, death, and resurrection. Then he joined them at a meal where he
blessed bread, broke it, and gave it to them. They finally recognized him,
whereupon he disappeared. They rushed back to the apostles in Jerusalem and
"recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread." (The Catechism calls this the first Mass
celebrated after the Resurrection!)
The two disciples brought news of Christ’s Resurrection to the apostles.
Since then, many others have encountered the risen Lord shared their stories
with others. One of the most dramatic of these stories is that of Dr. Diane
Komp, an atheist, who was brought to Christ by the dying children she treated.
For example, little Anna was breathing her last as her mother and Dr. Komp
waited nearby. Suddenly, Anna sat up and said in a clear voice, "The
angels–they’re so beautiful! Mommy, can you see them? Do you hear their singing?
I’ve never heard such beautiful singing!" Then she lay back on her pillow and
died. For Dr. Komp, Anna and other children like her were a "window to heaven"
that helped her to turn from atheism to belief in Jesus, as she relates in her
book, Images of Grace.
Such stories can strengthen our faith in the risen Christ. Even more, we
experience at every Mass what brought faith to the two disciples of Emmaus. Like
them, we meet Christ as he explains the Scriptures and gives us Holy Communion.
We don’t need archeologists from Egypt. We have the real food of everlasting
life, the risen Jesus, the Bread from heaven. Those who eat this Bread will live