That same day, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognize him.
He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveler to Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has happened there these past few days.” And he asked, “What is it?”
They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet, you know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced him to death. They handed him over to be crucified. 21We had hoped that he would redeem Israel.
It is now the third day since all this took place. It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find his body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a body in the tomb.”
He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter his glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, he explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When they were at table, he took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; but he vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us when he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”
They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words: “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made himself known, when he broke bread with them.
The life of the two disciples was overshadowed by a cloud of brokenness. Their dream of a “liberating” Messiah was shattered and hope was dashed. Their eyes fogged by tears were downcast. When a person is sad, everything and everyone look lifeless. The trees look bare. The sky is dark.
Stay with us. Mane nobiscum. It was an eye opener. Because the disciples treated the “stranger” not with hostility (Lat. hostis, enemy) but with hospitality, they were rewarded with grace of enlightenment. The great Odysseus respects and treats unknown strangers like gods, according to Greek custom, because strangers might be gods in disguise. “Men always talk about the most important things to total strangers. It is because in the total stranger we perceive man himself; the image of God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of the wisdom of a moustache.” (G. K. Chesterton, The Club of Queer Trades. The Noticeable Conduct of Professor Chadd) The two disciples were not only hospitable, but they did not also close their heart to God, thus, they saw the Light. Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem —“ Out of shadows and phantasms into Truth.” (J. H. Cardinal Newman)
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