Luke 24: 13-35

The Road to Emmaus

That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognise who he was.

He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”

He said, “What has happened?”

They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”

Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognised him. And then he disappeared.

Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”

They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw him!”

Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognised him when he broke the bread.

Reflection

When we've just been through a really bad time, like the death of someone we love, it's hard to think or see straight. You may not want to talk at all, or you may want to keep on talking about the person you've lost to others who knew them well.

On the road to Emmaeus, Cleopas and the other disciple are talking about Jesus, and when a 'stranger' joins them, someone who doesn't even seem to know about the incredible things that have happened, they tell him everything. It's probably something they need to do.

It seems weird that they don't recognise Jesus, but even though they talk about the women saying Jesus is risen, they don't quite seem to believe it themselves, although Jesus had promised to return. They're not expecting to meet him walking down the road.

Their faith has been shaken. Their idea of what was going to happen wasn't anything like this. Jesus hadn't done what they expected. Or hadn't done it in the way they expected.

What do we see in this Gospel?

We see friendship as two people share their shock and grief about the terrible death of their friend and leader, who had given them so much hope for the future.

We see two people who are willing to listen and learn when they are taught about things they'd misunderstood.

We see compassion for the stranger, as they persuade their companion to stay with them and share a meal, because it's safer than travelling alone at night.

But most importantly, we see that, like these two disciples, it's in 'the breaking of bread' at Holy Communion, that we meet Jesus, realise who he is, have our faith made stronger, and find our joy again - because he is risen!

Clare Lewis

Salesian Communications Worker

Prayer

Jesus,

Walk with us as we travel our road through life.

Point us in the right direction when we're confused.

Help us to be open to people who can teach us to understand you better.

Remind us that you are in every stranger that we meet.

Let us welcome you with joy in the Eucharist.

Amen