Now on that same day two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
The monks of the Abbey of Keur Moussa sing the Benedictus: ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, He has visited his people and redeemed them.’ As I enter in prayer, I rest for a moment in that confidence, that reassurance, that whatever has gonewrong in the world, whatever has gone wrong in my life, ‘The Lord has visited his people and redeemed them’.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
Today we break off the story half-way. These two disciples are in a bad way: frightened, all their hopes dashed, running away. Can you remember a time in your own life when you’ve shared something of these feelings?
Then a stranger joins them. He encourages them to tell their story, and helps them to make sense of it. Here it is the attention of a sympathetic listener, and remembering some lines from the Bible, that seems to help them most. What most helps you to make sense of things in your own life?
As you listen to the rest of the story, notice especially the changes going on in the minds and hearts of these two disciples.
Sitting down with the stranger to eat a meal, there’s something about what he says and does that help them to see that this stranger is in fact Jesus. Can you pick out a point in the last few days where you have experienced the risen Jesus? Talk to him for a moment or two about where he appears in your own life, and what he does there.