The Emmaus scene from Luke’s Gospel (24/13-35) is well known and loved.
There seems to be three parts to this Easter encounter.
In the first part we find two of the disciples on their way to Emmaus. They are travelling “from Jerusalem.” In other words, they are travelling away FROM the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
They are talking with “their faces downcast” and are bitterly disappointed that Jesus has not met their expectations.
Now let us turn to the third segment of this encounter. They have done an Emmaus backflip!
They are now returning “that instant to Jerusalem” to meet the other apostles. Their hearts are “burning within them”.
What has happened? We now turn to the middle part.
Without recognising Him, the Risen Lord walks alongside them. He describes them as “foolish.” He explains the Scriptures to them and they are intrigued.
They mention “the day is almost over.” This is surely a reference not simply to the time of the day but their relationship with the Risen Lord. Their friendship with Jesus is almost over.
During this pandemic, many of us feel fragile, lost and fearfu.
We have the Scriptures explained in the first part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word.
The disciples move towards repentance and find room for something unexpected and the greatest surprise of their life – He is Risen! In biblical language this is called “Metanoia.” It is a return to the Lord with their hearts in repentance and faith. Inviting their fellow traveller for a meal, they go to the equivalent of the Emmaus inn/pub. The key words here are significant. With the bread, the Risen Lord “took…blessed…broke…and handed it to them.” These are key words used in the Eucharist. In other words, Jesus is celebrating Mass with them!
The Mass is the meeting point for us with the Risen Lord. Absenting ourselves from the Mass is missing out on the gift Jesus wants to give us. With the pandemic we are not physically at Mass but we are trying our best through online Mass and spiritual communion.
We are at the Emmaus pub for a counter tea! There are only two items on the menu during this pandemic; the “couch potato” and the “Emmaus backflip.” Let’s all choose the “Emmaus backflip” and return to the Lord with all our hearts.