Now 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The translation of today’s text that we hear at Mass reads: “And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them…”
Though we’re not quite awake enough to debate, every morning at the breakfast table my sisters and I converse about the happenings that we’ve heard or read about in the news. They are not uplifting stories with which to begin a day! As we (thankfully) become more in tune with what’s around us, we’ve all felt the temptation to become discouraged or cynical.
The disciples walking back from Jerusalem were in the midst of such a conversation: “Can you believe the point to which we’ve arrived?” “There’s no reason to hope for anything different now.” Yet it was in the midst of such a conversation that Jesus himself drew near.
How do we recognize Jesus drawing close in these conversations of ours? How are our eyes opened to see more than what the basic story outline presents? Jesus doesn’t give up until we see him.
—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci is a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a women’s congregation of Ignatian Spirituality that is a member of the Charis Ministries Partner Program.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for never giving up, for walking alongside us until our eyes are at last opened to see you in the midst of our daily life and concerns. Open my eyes to see you in discouraging and desolate situations. May your presence continue to surprise me along the road. Amen.
—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci