Father Philip Writes...
One of my favourite Easter stories takes place on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24 v 13 – 31). It is a compelling drama that includes sadness (v 17), diminished hope (v 21) and the disciples’ slowness of heart (v 25) changing to burning hearts (v 32). In their own way the Emmaus travellers have some insight about Jesus. They know he was ‘a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all people’ (v 19). They had hoped that he would be the one to redeem Israel – understanding redemption as a political liberation from their oppressors.
Being invited to join them at their home in Emmaus for an evening meal, the stranger becomes the host by taking the bread, blessing it and sharing it with them. Recalling the Last Supper and feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000, the disciples suddenly find their eyes are opened and the Risen Jesus is with them. But as soon as they recognise him, he vanishes from their sight, but this meeting has absolutely transformed them. Immediately they run back to Jerusalem to tell others what has happened!
Jesus was soon to become physically absent after he ascended to Heaven, but for ever after will be experienced as present among the community of believers in the Scriptures and Breaking of Bread. This meal is called ‘the Mass’ at St Mary’s and throughout the Western Church. I shall be explaining more about it at our Enquirers’ Group on Saturday mornings in church (7th, 14th, 21st April) at 10.00.
The challenge of Emmaus is: Are we energised like the 2 disciples and witness to the living Jesus by the way we live? One of the disciples is named - Cleopas - but the other is unnamed. Does St Luke intend this disciple to be you? You may have little experience of Christian worship, but I invite you to come so you can experience the same as those disciples and then Easter will become a present reality for you, too.