Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
The disciples of Emmaus invite us to discover Jesus in the breaking of bread. So caught up in the events of the past few days, they found themselves totally caught up and disoriented. These behaviours are purely human and divinely accepted. God, who walks with us, even in difficult times, accompanies us discreetly without making revealing his presence or his accompaniment. We must have patience and know how to put all our trust in this God who loves.
Stay with us' was not an invitation from the disciples, it was in truth from the Lord. We must always stay with the Lord, especially in the night. It is in this trust in God and our ability to share that God makes himself visible to humanity.
If we remain faithful to God's love, one day we will say with certainty, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, 'Were not our hearts burning? For this we must be open, welcoming and listen to the other who accompanies us in silence.
Action of the day : Believe in the divine accompaniment.
«Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?»
Fr. Luis PERALTA Hidalgo SDB
Today we are reassured by the Gospel that Jesus is alive and continues to be the center around which the disciples' community is built. The gathering of the community, the dialog with brothers and sisters who share the same faith, the reading of the Word of God, the love shared and expressed through fraternity and service, is precisely the ecclesial context in which the disciples can encounter the Resurrected.
The disciples filled with grief, couldn't even imagine that that stranger was in fact their Master, now resurrected. But they felt “an ardent yearning” in their hearts (cf. Lk 24:32), when He talked, «explaining» the Scriptures. The light of the Word softened their hearts and “their eyes were opened” (Lk 24:31).
The iconic story of the disciples of Emmaus is useful as a guide to us in the long journey through a path of doubts, afflictions and sometimes even bitter disillusionments; the Divine traveler continues to be our companion who introduces us, by explaining the Scriptures, to the comprehension of God's mysteries. Upon the fulfillment of this encounter the light of the Word is followed by the light that emerges from the “Bread of Life”, through which Christ fulfills perfectly His promise that He would be with us “always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explains that “The proclamation of the Lord's Resurrection lightens up the dark regions of the world in which we live.”