Luke’s Gospel concludes with the beautiful story of the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24.13-35). It’s the dramatic tale of 2 of Jesus’ disciples walking away from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. As they walked, Jesus came up and began walking with them, although they did not recognise him.
The disciples explained to this stranger when he asked how their friend Jesus had been crucified and died, but that some of the disciples claimed that he had risen from the dead. As evening came, the disciples invited the stranger to stay with them and share a meal.
As they broke the bread, their eyes were opened and they recognised the stranger as Jesus. Immediately, they returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples that they had seen the risen Lord and recognised him in the breaking of the bread.
We can learn so much from this story, especially how it relates to what we are going through at present.
1. We find these 2 disciples moving away from the community. We might say today they were ‘socially isolating’, heading to their home in the village of Emmaus.
2. Without knowing it, they had the opportunity to encounter Jesus on their journey. This story encourages us to be open to the experiences we are having. All is potential encounter with God.
3. These disciples recognised Jesus when their‘hearts burned within them’ as they heard the story, and ‘in the breaking of bread’. Take time to stop, to listen to what God is whispering to us in the silence of our lives, to discover wisdom in what we hear, read and learn, and most importantly, in the great Christian tradition, find the presence of God in sharing a meal and celebrating the simplicity of sitting at a table with those you love.
4. They returned to the community in Jerusalem.They were not meant to be on their own but with the other disciples. We are meant to live as a community. While we are asked to ‘socially isolate’ at the moment, don’t do it on your own. Stay in contact. Reach out. Share your story and listen to other’s stories. We might be physically alone, but we are all walking this same road together. You may be surprised by the life giving encounters you have along the way.