On the road to emmaus

Remember Easter Sunday morning, when Mary Magdalene met Jesus at the tomb and didn’t recognize him?
Today’s gospel also happens on Easter Sunday, just later in the day. Many scholars agree that the travelers were Cleopas (named in the Gospel) and his wife, Mary, who was noted to be at the foot of the Cross with the other Marys in John 19.
Perhaps they were traveling home, steeped in pain. Jesus has been killed and now his body is gone. They’re scared, exhausted, angry, and sorrowful. Cleopas says that Jesus’ death has robbed them of hope: We were hoping he was the one and now he is dead.
A traveler joins them–it’s Jesus, but the gospel says “their eyes were prevented from seeing him”
That got me researching. Was this lack of sight divine intervention or the limitations of grieving human minds? And if it was divine intervention–both Mary Mag and the disciples on the road to Emmaus were purposefully prevented from recognizing Jesus at first–what purpose does it serve?
Turns out, most folks who know think their eyes were purposefully veiled. St Augustine acknowledges that grief may have played a role, but that ultimately it doesn’t matter why they didn’t see him. 
The lesson is in the NOT seeing.
Mary Mag doesn’t “see” him until he calls her name. Cleopas and Mary don’t “see” him until he breaks the bread.  But he was there all the same. 
That is the gift of this Gospel, and what a gift it is–Jesus himself teaching the lesson that He is always here.  He calls us by name to know him. He is present in the breaking of the bread and therefore present in us. He is the kindness of a stranger and the safety of a meal with those we love. 
Grief, fear, anger, pain–these can all veil our eyes and make us feel abandoned and alone. Today’s Gospel teaches us to trust in the Resurrection and the promises of Christ.

One thought on “On the road to emmaus

  1. Amen. This is one of my favorite bible stories. The grief and disillusionment turns into amazement and joy.

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