The Gospel of Luke contains an interesting account of one of the post-resurrection appearances of our Lord. The account is that of the disciples who were travelling on their way to Emmaus who encountered the Lord on their way (Lk 24:13-35).
As they were walking they encountered a man, whom they originally didn’t realise was the Lord Jesus. But the interesting thing about this meeting was not that the two disciples did not recognise Jesus; but in how they eventually did recognise Him.
During the encounter, our Lord opened the Scriptures to show that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer (v27). But even in this exposition of the Scriptures, the disciples still did not recognise the Lord. It was only when the Lord blessed and broke the bread at table with them that their eyes were opened (v30-31). It is unmistakeable that this is a reference to the Eucharist given that when they relayed this encounter to the Apostles they called it “the breaking of the bread”.
It was ultimately not in through the Scriptures that the disciples eyes were opened, but through the Eucharist. What is so significant about this fact? It illustrates that Christ is really and truly known in the Eucharist, which means that the Eucharist ought to be the primary focus of every Christian. In addition, it illustrates that the rightful and proper place for Scripture is to prepare God’s people to recognise our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist.
One more decidedly important, and often overlooked, fact is that as soon as our Lord was revealed to the disciples in the Eucharist, we are told that He vanished from their sight (v31). Now, what was so significant about this fact that St. Luke felt it necessary to include it? The significance of Jesus’ vanishing after they recognised Him in the Eucharist was that He was showing His disciples that His physical presence bodily was no longer necessary because His Real Presence was now completely manifest in the Blessed Eucharist. And so in the Mass everyday, and in tabernacles around the world, our Lord is truly present and with us, just as He promised He would be until the very end (Matt 28:20).
This means that whenever you attend Mass, you encounter our Lord in the breaking of the bread. And whenever you happen to pass a Catholic Church, why not take some time out of your schedule to step into the sanctuary, and spend a few minutes in the Presence of our Lord as He resides in the tabernacle - or better yet, if your parish has made Eucharistic adoration possible, why not schedule some time every week to spend a special Holy Hour with our Lord. From experience, I can vouch that there are few things more precious than this time well-spent.