Personal reflection on the Road to Emmaus
One of my favorite passages in the Gospels is the account by Luke of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-35 tells of two men leaving Jerusalem after the brutal death of Jesus. The disciples do not know what to do next. While on their way they are greeted by a man who addresses them with the basic question of what they doing. The two can’t believe he has not heard of the events that have just taken place.
The visitor, who at first addresses the two in a very pastoral manner, now presents catechetically what the events that have just taken place mean. He explains Sacred History recorded in the Scriptures, relating it all to himself, to the Paschal Mystery.
The two; however, did not understand what it was that he was speaking of, yet their hearts were burning from what he was saying. The visitor, applying the catechesis pastorally leaves them, giving them the chance to ask for more, which they do.
The visitor, first having met them where they were at pastorally, instructing them with the Scriptures catechetically, now will bring them to the fullness of the Truth liturgically. The visitor breaks the bread and the disciples enter into Sacramental communion with our Lord in the Eucharist. With this, after being met by our Lord and being instructed from the Scriptures, have their eyes opened to them. They now recognize the visitor for who he is, Jesus Christ, whom they just witnessed being crucified in the past days.
The two disciples instead of going their own way go back to Jerusalem, where the Apostles are, along with other followers of Jesus.
This passage from Luke is a special event for us because so often we are tempted to wander our own way due to lack of understanding of what God is doing in our life. Jesus meets us in so many ways; perhaps in vocal, mental or meditative prayer, in a conversation we have with another person, praying over the Scriptures, or in spiritual reading. Here we are encouraged by Jesus’ example in the Gospels; as well as the Saints in the Church, to listen, to be met by the Spirit where we are. Are we willing to be called ‘foolish’ as were the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? I am not always to willing to hear this, even from our Lord. In our daily life, and especially at Mass we are moved from confronting our sinfulness to hearing the Word of God. I pray at each Mass that my heart may burn for deeper communion with Jesus when hearing Him in Scripture. We are then lead to the Lord’s Table and invited to receive Him Sacramentally.
Upon receiving our Lord in the Eucharist, do we run back to the Church or seek to run our own way? Do I live within my own mind or within the mind of our Lord in the Church?
I find this passage very touching, as someone who lived for nearly 18 years with the written Word of God only. Upon being received into the Church my eyes have surely been opened to depth of two thousand years of the Holy Spirit living and breathing in the Church, where the Scriptures have been constantly contemplated, like Mary keeping the words in her heart.