Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us
on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?
That presence of the risen Christ was so real, so powerful that it changed everything for them, and even sent those who fled Jerusalem in fear back to share this incredible good news: the crucifixion had failed, Jesus would not be contained to a tomb, God has transformed his death into new life not only for Jesus, but for all. Emmaus never happened, yet Emmaus always happens when God is at work transforming death into new life. What makes this truth so liberating and so powerful is when we recognize that the experience of the two on the way to Emmaus need not be any different than our own, that our own encounters with the risen Christ can be just as real and powerful as theirs. Thus we can affirm the truth that “Emmaus always happens” with confidence and conviction because it is not dependent on historical facts from 2000 years ago, which we can never confirm. It depends on what we know in our own hearts, when we have felt that same burning within us.
Daniel E.H. Bryant
Stay with us.
Read the story. Reflect on any Emmaus moments you have experienced.
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
We need a church able to dialogue with those disciples who, having left Jerusalem behind, are wandering aimlessly, alone, with their own disappointment, disillusioned by a Christianity now considered barren, fruitless soil, incapable of generating meaning.
We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.
The Emmaus Road story teaches what accompaniment means: walking together, sharing in conversation about what really matters, extending hospitality to strangers, breaking bread together.
It seems to me that when we’re truly present to one another, when we listen, empathize, and honestly open ourselves to our own and others’ experiences and insights, we experience the presence of the sacred. And this presence is transformative.
Michael J. Baylay
The disciples continue their discussion of the events which had occurred during the days before surprised that the stranger beside them seemed unaware of what had occurred. In His empathy and compassion, Jesus enters into their experience and listens. Then, he gives them the most profound expository sermon of all time,