Reading: Luke 24:28-35
Verse 32: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
As our trio reaches Emmaus, Jesus acts like he is going on. Cleopas and friend invite Jesus to stay with them – the day is almost over. They have been intrigued by this stranger, drawn into the conversation. Jesus accepts their invitation to stay. Was this what he was looking for? Did they need to express a desire for more time, for more connection?
Jesus joins them at the table. Coming together around food was and is a gift of community, a sign of belonging. To welcome another is to offer invitation and to extend hospitality. It gives opportunity to engage in deeper conversation, to build community. The table is also a place where we are all the same – drawn by our need for both physical and relational sustenance.
At the table, together with friends, Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, and breaks the bread. As he gives it to these friends, their eyes are opened and they recognize him. Now the journey makes sense. They both ask each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Even though their eyes did not initially recognize Jesus, their spirits did. Jesus was feeding this hunger first.
It is this hunger that drives their response. After walking 7 miles, mostly in the heat of the day, they rise at once and return to Jerusalem. Finding their faith community, the place where they most belong, they share the story of the walk to Emmaus and of the breaking of the bread. Having tasted and seen, they witness to others, sharing the gift that they have received. May we do the same.
Prayer: Lord God, the more I digest and gain nutrition from, the more I am drawn to the spiritual food that you provide. It is a hunger that grows as it is fed. Use me as you will today, sharing the gift of life, awakening the hunger in others. Amen.