Walking with the Risen Jesus
Let us try to imagine the scene of the disciples who are walking with Jesus at their side for about seven miles. We can almost picture them in our minds: Initially focused on themselves with downcast faces, little by little they regain their strength, lift up their heads, return to an upright position, and breathe deeply again. Having reached the village of Emmaus, Jesus concretely checks to see if these two have understood and accepted all that he wanted to reveal to them during their journey. The disciples’ invitation shows that they accepted the extraordinary nature of their mysterious journey companion. Their invitation reveals the new feeling that is now in the hearts of these two. “It would be very good if you stayed with us. We have not yet understood who you are, but your presence is a source of consolation. Stay here with us.” They enter the place, and during the meal Jesus performs actions and repeats the very words of consecration for the Eucharist. He takes the bread and breaks it. The disciples—watching this take place and trained in listening to the word of God now being interpreted—are able to recognize him in the breaking of the bread. The Gospel reports that at the disciples’ invitation, Jesus “went in to stay with them.” As soon as they recognized him, however, “he vanished from their sight.” But why? Shouldn’t he have stayed with them? Because now he was still with them, because he had taught them to recognize him in the sacrament of his presence that he had left them: the body broken for them and the blood poured out for them.
—from the book Encountering Jesus: A Holy Land Experience by Vincenzo Peroni