Scripture Readings: Acts 2.14, 22-33; 1 Peter 1.17-21; Luke 24.13-35
“The two disciples urged the stranger, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening.’ …So the stranger went in to stay with them. When he was at 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.” – Luke 24.29-31
The two disciples who head home to Emmaus in Sunday’s gospel have experienced a terrible loss. As disciples, they wrapped their lives around Jesus, whom they expected would usher in the reign of God. Their hopes died with Jesus’ crucifixion. Their expectation that their journey with Jesus would end in earthly triumph blinds them to the presence of God in the unprecedented and bewildering events unfolding around them.
Emmaus lies seven miles from Jerusalem, a walk long enough for a transforming conversation. The walk represents a whole process of moving from loss to new life, from blindness to faith.
In the Emmaus story the risen Jesus becomes present to the two disciples first through interpreting scriptures together and then through breaking bread, the same ways Jesus becomes present in every Eucharist. In extending hospitality to the stranger, the two welcome a guest for supper who turns out to be their host at the last supper and whom we readers recognize as the host of every Eucharist.
When they recognize Jesus, he vanishes. They remember how their hearts burned when as the stranger explained the scriptures and revived their hopes. They invited the risen Jesus to stay with them.
In what ways does Jesus stay with you?