Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Road to Emmaus

Image taken from
The Incarnation, Resurrection and the Eucharist are three of my great theological passions. All of them are about Christ's presence, the affirmation of Creation through the joining of the glory of God to the world. They are beautiful. This morning, I was reading the Lectionary readings, and the gospel was Luke 24:12-35. The story here is that of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, a story which brings all three of these elements together.

Two disciples, unnamed, are going down the road to Emmaus, when Jesus joins them on their way. They do not recognize him, perhaps because His Resurrection body has changed Him so, perhaps because He chose to hide Himself from them. Who knows?

They tell Him about the death of Jesus, astonished that He has apparently not heard of it, and go on to tell Him that some of the women reported that He was missing from His tomb, and that angels had reported Him raised from the dead. Jesus, His identity still hidden, goes through the Scriptures and reveals to them all the prophecies revealing that the Messiah would have to die, but would be raised again. They then invite Him, still a stranger, into their home.

It is then, when the meal is being shared, and Christ breaks the bread, that He is revealed to them.

What I find fascinating here is that the presence of Christ in their lives is not revealed to them when He walks and talks with them, it is not revealed to them when He shows himself to them in scripture, but it is instead revealed when He breaks the bread. Christ's bodily presence is revealed to them by the Eucharist.

Now, I do not think that the Eucharist alone could have revealed Him. Christ first had to be Incarnate, and, of course, having died had to be Resurrected. What is more, to know His nature they had to be shown His presence in scripture. The Ministry of the Word and the Ministry of the Table had to come together to reveal the Lord, and both of these ministries had to be joined together by the incarnate God. It is almost as if, the Eucharist is here Christ-Fully-Man and the Word is Christ-Fully-God, and when both are revealed to the disciples, then they know Him as He is.