“Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.” Luke 24: 30-35
That beautiful Gospel story of the encounter between two of the followers of Jesus with the Risen Lord contains layers and depths of meaning. The followers were on their way home having witnessed the horror of Good Friday; their hopes and dreams were in tatters. The one in whom they had placed so much faith is gone, it all seems to have ended in tears.
It’s only when they tell their story to the stranger and he listens respectfully that insight begins to break through. The stranger begins to fill in the missing pieces for them, going through the scriptures and identifying the hand of God in all that had happened even in the dark deeds of Good Friday.
It's when they extend hospitality to this insightful stranger that the final piece of the jigsaw is dropped into place: “Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight.” Their immediate reaction is to take the arduous seven mile walk back to Jerusalem to inform the disciples, it didn’t matter that night had fallen and the journey a dangerous one, they had encountered the Risen Lord!
Whenever we gather at the table of the Eucharist we too encounter the Risen Lord, we too have him reveal God’s plan in the scriptures to us; we too share a privileged encounter.
The Lord is Risen, Alleluia!
Fr. Philip Curran