Road to Emmaus
Have you ever had an encounter where you are talking in public, perhaps over lunch or just walking down the street with your spouse or a good friend just talking? Like most of us we attempt to talk through an issue or problem that we are trying to solve – car problems, work on the house, etc. Suddenly out of nowhere, a stranger overhears and starts to provide some advice such as a person or a mechanic that can fix that problem or issue. It has probably happened to most of us.
This very thing happened to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. We know from the Gospel of Luke 24:18, that one of the disciples was named Cleopas while the other’s name was not mentioned. Why do you think they were walking away from Jerusalem towards Emmaus? Remember, earlier in the day they were together with the Apostles when the women of their company amazed them all by saying that they had gone to the tomb of Jesus and it was empty! Then, some of the Apostles, Peter, and John, rushed to the tomb and found it empty. Jesus was alive! Or was he? They had not seen him! Dejected, heartbroken, at what had occurred with the crucifixion and death of Jesus with their hearts were burning for their Messiah. When Jesus died, their hopes died. They stole away from the eleven apostles with the thought to walk, talk, and meditate on the events that occurred, with this being the third day since Jesus died.
Emmaus was situated, according to the testimony of Luke, about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked and talked about the events that had occurred a third lone traveler overheard them and joined their conversation. Obviously the two disciples were so ingrained with their discussion that they did not notice the third person until he spoke. This man asked, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” The two disciples were surprised that this man who obviously was also walking away from Jerusalem had not heard of the recent events that had all of Jerusalem in chaos.
The disciples proceeded to tell the stranger of Jesus’ crucifixion and the report of His empty tomb today, three days after His crucifixion. This man they just met responded, “‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Jesus. Though we know this was Jesus, His glory was veiled from their eyes. Jesus did not want to open their eyes to His glory but wanted to open their minds to the prophetic words of Scripture that referred to Him. Their physical eyes were blinded to the identity of Jesus, but their eyes of faith were being opened as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them.
The disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ lesson was one of deep conviction of the truth of what He was teaching. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked?” they ask each other. When they arrived in Emmaus that evening, the two disciples stopped to eat, and they asked Jesus to join them. He did, and as He broke the bread and blessed the meal, “their eyes were opened” (verse 31), and they recognized Him.
The Walk to Emmaus is one we take and encounter Jesus every time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We listen to the Old and New Testament along with the Gospel readings where we hear with burning hearts of the revelation and manifestation of Jesus. With our eyes suddenly being opened and Jesus revealing Himself to us at the consecration! And as the two disciples, we will walk and encounter those along our life’s journey where our hearts and eyes will be opened to see and recognize Jesus in all we meet!
Happy Easter – Dcn Jim