That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples 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 Christ 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The disciples had something to get done that day…get out of Jerusalem. They had something to worry about that day… Jesus, the guy they had pinned their hopes on, was gone, defeated, dead. On their way, they take up conversation with a fellow traveler, but do not see God’s face or hear his voice. Only after the day is over, they have had dinner and THEN…they realize it was Jesus who had been with them on the road. “Weren’t our hearts burning inside us as we walked on the road today.”
John Henry Newman once said “God’s presence is not discerned at the time when it is upon us, but afterwards when we look back.” Newman’s words and the disciples on the road give me a new and heightened appreciation for why St. Ignatius considered the Examen the most important prayer a person can pray. It is the prayer afterwards when we look back… when we look back and find God’s presence in our lives and allow God to find us.
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
Risen Jesus, source of new life and promise, help me to recognize your presence in the fragments of my daily actions and relationships. Show me the way to share the hope of these Easter days. Amen.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!