'The Emmaus Road'


Wednesday Reflection


7th April 2021

...whose world had collapsed...

The story of the road to Emmaus
is one of the most powerful stories
in the Bible and certainly one of
Luke's greatest achievements as a storyteller.

It has a clear sense of movement,
which we can see by noticing how many times
travelling, walking, stopping and
journeying on is mentioned;
the idea of the disciples being
on a journey fits with a large theme
of Luke's gospel, but there seems
to be an ironic reversal:
in the main part of the gospel,
Jesus is on a journey, and the question
is whether the disciples will join with him.

Here, the disciples are on a journey,
in many senses in the wrong direction,
and it is Jesus who joins them,
resulting in a change in their
direction of travel.

The road to Emmaus is the road travelled
by people who have met with disappointments
and frustrations in life;
people whose world had collapsed
and their hopes and dreams are shattered.

There are many like that in our world today.
In frustration, we usually tend to walk
in the wrong direction.

In the experience of these two disciples,
we find all the ingredients
of the Christian life.
First is the tendency of believers
to run away from where Christ
is to be found.
Don't we do this all the time?

Second is meeting Jesus in unexpected places,
people or situations.
How often does this happen and
we do not recognise him,
or worse mistreat him?

Yet, imagine how lost these two
dispirited disciples would have
remained had they not welcomed
this stranger.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us:

'Remember to welcome strangers
 in your homes.
 There were some who did that
 and welcomed angels
 without knowing it.'

..... 13:2

Third is that we can only come to
fuller knowledge of Jesus and his mission
by having the Scriptures fully explained.

Yet, how many Christians go through life
hardly ever opening a bible?
St. Paul says in his letter to the Romans:

"Consequently, faith comes from
 hearing the message,
 and the message is heard through
 the word about Christ."

..... 10:17.

In listening to sound preaching
and teaching of the word lies the
opportunity of a closer
relationship with Jesus.
As with any relationship
the more time we spend with him
the better we get to know him.

We accompany people to be converted
to the Gospel values not just to
make them well-adjusted individuals.
That is what happened with the downcast
disciples as they walked the wrong
direction into the night.

While Jesus started by drawing near to them,
he asked them questions about their
present mood and listened to their troubles,
but he did not stop there.
He went further to challenge them
with the word of God,
telling them how foolish and
slow of heart they were in believing
all that have been prophesied
in the Scriptures.

In today's world of political correctness,
Jesus could have been accused of speaking cruelly
to people who are already traumatised.
But his blunt message inspired rather
than discouraged them.

If we offer someone a lukewarm cup of tea,
they many not complain
but they won't ask for more.

The Christian life is a journey
of conversion away from the night
into which the disciples had been headed,
into the light of the Gospel
which their encounter with
Jesus eventually brought them.

These two disciples that were
travelling the familiar road
of the frustrated,
had two experiences that changed
the course of their lives;
they encountered God in the Scriptures,
which lifted their downcast spirit,
and in the Eucharist -
the breaking of bread,
which opened their eyes to recognise
that God had been with them all along,
and that they had not been walking alone.

Can we open our eyes to the God
who walks beside us sharing
our journey of faith?

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'I Can See (The Emmaus Road)'
sung by Steve Green
(with lyrics)'
via the link shown below.