Did the first Mass take place on the road to Emmaus?

Dear Fr. Vincent

A few weeks back our pastor gave his homily on “The Road to Emmaus” (let’s say from the scripture discussion to the bread breaking- Luke 24: 27-32 )

Our pastor said, “Are you surprised the disciples did not recognize Jesus on the road to Emmaus?? I’m not.”

He also mentioned this was the first complete mass on record, since it included the liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist.

I’ve been wondering

  1. Is this the first mass, period?

  2. Is it possible for followers to recognize Jesus through scripture study only, without the Eucharist?

Sincerely, L&F

Dear L & F,

I see your pastor’s point: The Liturgy of the Word is completed by the Eucharist. However, we have to be careful not to generalize or absolutize here regarding our conclusions. It is certainly possible for one to recognize Jesus without both Scripture and the Eucharist. God is not limited in His use of grace. He can use anything or anyone to introduce people to Himself. Faith is always His gift.

The first Mass was offered on Calvary. Both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist derive from it. Because Calvary transcends time and space, it is present to us in the combination of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. To participate in such Liturgy is the pinnacle of human existence. Heaven simply consists in more fully appreciating it.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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