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?” (Lk 24:30-32)
This morning’s Gospel is one of my favorite post-resurrection accounts because it finds two of Jesus’ disciples high-tailing it out of town. They were going to get out while the getting was good. After all, their Lord and Master was taken from them, endured horrible suffering, and died on the cross. As far as they knew, they were going to be next. So they fled toward Emmaus. And they encountered the Risen Lord on the road.
Just like Mary Magdalene in yesterday’s Gospel, they did not recognize Him. He listened to them speak of their sorrow, their pain, and their fear, as they walked down the road. He asked them what it was about which they spoke. They were dumbfounded. Was He the only person who had not heard what was being said around that part of the world?! How could He not know about this person called Jesus and the hope that they had for Him?
I could just picture this huge smile inside of Jesus as He kept a straight face and began to break open the scriptures for them, as He had done so often in the past.
The disciples were amazed at all they heard. As they listened to Jesus, the fire in their hearts was rekindled. They felt the passion once again. They felt a hope brewing anew. When they begged Jesus to stay with them for dinner, He broke bread with them. In that very familiar moment, they recognized Him and, with that, He vanished.
WOW! They were amazed. They had seen the Lord. They knew what they had to do next: run back into the fray.
So they returned to announce the resurrection to the apostles but found that He had already appeared to them as well.
Sometimes you just have to be broken in order to recognize Jesus. The disciples did not recognize Him on their way to Emmaus until He broke bread with them because they were so wrapped up in their pain and fear. Jesus can take that pain and fear and turn it into renewed faith and joy — if we only let Him.
FAITH ACTION: Whether it be with a spouse, a child, a family member, neighbor, friend, or co-worker, share a favorite story of Jesus with that person. As you do so, remind yourself that you are talking about a very real person, one who is with you this very moment!