Have you ever wondered if you would have recognized Jesus if you had been one of the Emmaus disciples? When I truly pay attention to St. Luke’s Resurrection account, I notice that the two men who meet Jesus on the way to Emmaus are good disciples. They are heart-broken at his death in Jerusalem, they are familiar with his teachings, and they are desirous of sharing his story with this total “stranger” who joins them for the long journey out of town. We aren’t told why they’re leaving Jerusalem or where they’re really headed. We aren’t told whether they planned on telling the story of Jesus Christ all along their way or if they just so happened upon someone who was interested in chatting about it. We aren’t told what their ultimate destination is, nor how they intend to spend the remainder of their lives.
What we are told is that they found their hearts burning within them as they shared time and memory with Jesus. They desired his company, and they invited him in to continue to be in relationship with them. They shared bread with him, they received blessing, and they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. And then he was gone. Then did the fire of his love catch flame in them, and compelled them to get up from that very table and run all the way back from where they’d come…just to tell the story!
Maybe this week we can take a moment to reflect on our own discipleship of Jesus. Even when we don’t recognize him, he walks with us, telling us the story of his life, sharing with us the story of ours, and inviting us to see where the two intersect. Even when we’ve journeyed a long way, perceiving him to be absent, somehow in those moments when we listen to the story of his life, we can also sense his presence right there with us. Even when we don’t realize it is Christ we have invited to “remain with us,” he comes and reveals himself in ways quite unexpected. And even when he disappears from view, he sets our hearts on fire, sending us urgently out to those we love most, sharing the good news: we have seen him—he is alive!