N ow on that same day two of them 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. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Luke 24: 14-43
This is a resurrection story proper to Luke. There is difficulty in identifying the village but it is thought that it is Kulonieh, earlier called Emmaus, a village west of Jerusalem.
Late in the afternoon Cleopas and another disciple set out for the village. Walking into the sun, they are joined by a stranger. They neither recognize Jesus nor do they recognise his voice. It is the voice of a stranger. The suggestion that they are walking into the sun does not offer an explanation. There is mystery.
The stranger senses their disillusionment and grief and appears ignorant of the events in Jerusalem. He listens attentively to their story, and the hope that was in them that Jesus was a prophet, the one who would bring redemption.
They describe the events of those terrible days and relate with surprise the report that some women had gone to the tomb and found it empty.
The stranger explains that the prophets foretold that the anointed one must suffer and die and only “then enter his glory”. When they reached the village their companion of the road made as if to walk further. They invite him to stay with them. "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." If they had simply said good bye and allowed him to go on his way they would never have recognised Jesus.
They invite the stranger to stay and eat with them. Luke uses Eucharistic language to describe the meal and captures their excitement as they recognize Jesus in the breaking of bread. ”When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” They recognize Jesus and believe. Unable to contain their joy they hurry back to Jerusalem to share the good news.
This wonderfully consoling resurrection story says something about the gentle courtesy of God. God does not force his presence upon us, rather he is a willing guest to those who welcome him.
There is a healing in the telling of the events of Jesus passion and death - in the very sharing of their pain with a sympathetic listener who opens up deeper meaning in the harrowing events of the previous days: “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” He identifies Jesus as the Messiah, transforms their understanding of Jesus death.
There is not only a Eucharistic motif. A liturgy of the word (25-27) precedes the recognition of Jesus in the breaking of bread.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries