In this clip from the Busted Halo show, Father Dave and Christina examine the story of Jesus’ appearance on the Road to Emmaus from Luke 24:13-35 and reflect on its message about the importance of the Mass.
Father Dave explains that this story takes place on the day of the Resurrection and introduces us to two disciples: Cleopas and an unnamed person, who may have been Cleopas’s wife. They are on their way back home to Emmaus, which is seven miles from Jerusalem. Since this story is from the Gospel of Luke, it’s important to note that Luke emphasizes the significance of Jerusalem as the center of Judaism, so when they leave Jerusalem, the disciples are actually walking away from Jesus, an idea we might be able to relate to in our own lives.
As the disciples continue on their journey, Jesus joins them, but “their eyes were prevented” from recognizing him. Father Dave points out that Jesus walks with them away from Jerusalem. Pope Francis often highlights this detail from Scripture and describes it as Jesus “accompanying them on the way.” Father Dave goes on to say that God is always with us, even when we turn our backs on him.
Father Dave and Christina begin to chuckle at these two disciples who cannot seem to grasp that Jesus is still alive, even though the disciples in Jerusalem shared the news of his Resurrection with them. Father Dave explains that even though these disciples may seem a bit foolish to us, they actually are us. Jesus is patient with them as they talk to him, just as he is patient with us when we pray.
The journey begins to resemble the Mass when Jesus, who has still not revealed his identity, starts explaining Scripture to the disciples — similar to how we listen to the priest reflect on Scripture during Mass. Once Jesus and the disciples get to Emmaus, the disciples invite this “stranger” to eat with them, and Jesus shares Communion. Luke describes how Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and shared it with the disciples. At that point, they finally recognize Jesus. He vanishes, and they immediately return to Jerusalem to share their encounter with the risen Christ.
Father Dave and Christina agree that this story has a beautiful message about the Eucharist. “Jesus is made known to us all the more when we come to Mass,” Father Dave says. “When we gather around the table of the Lord, when we hear those Scriptures broken open and explained, and when we receive the broken bread that is Jesus.”
Christina leaves us with the message of hope that she received from this story: “Once we have a true encounter with Christ, it’s enough to immediately turn our lives around.” Even today, the Road to Emmaus speaks to us, and we can all identify with the disciples who turn their backs on the risen Christ but eventually learn to turn back around.