Luke tells us in chapter 24:13-34 an extraordinary story that speaks volumes about the way Jesus reveals Himself to us. These two men were, most likely, escaping Jerusalem after the events of the crucifixion because they probably didn’t feel safe there. They might have been going back home too. Who knows? The thing is that they were on their way to a village called Emmaus. On the road, as they were walking, feeling sorry for themselves and for everything that had transpired back in Jerusalem, a mysterious man joins them.
Of course, we know the mysterious man is Jesus, Himself! He walks with them and talks to them. He opens up Scripture to them. He makes the Word become alive right in front of their faces. The two men, however, cannot recognize Him. They encounter the Divine on their path of sorrow, but they cannot see it. Their eyes were blurry with pain and tears for the great loss they had suffered. Their hope was gone and their souls were downcast.
Can’t we all testify to a moment like that in our lives, can we?
Don’t we find ourselves often on the road to our own private Emmaus?
There we are…dragging our feet on the road marked with sorrow, pain, shame, loneliness, illness, poverty, anguish, anxiety, instability, frustration, depression, fear, doubt, abandonment…the dirt of the road sticking to the sole of our shoes and the salty taste of sweat mixed in with tears dripping down our mouths. Our arms limply hanging by our sides as our eyes want to poke a hole on the ground where we can hide for a long while.
The road to Emmaus is not a happy one. It is not a road filled with joy and carelessness. It is a path of struggle. It’s the road of the fugitive.
Even there, however, in the midst of our distraction, Christ finds us. Even there, as we walk immersed in our own self-pity and misery, the Light of the World shines for us. Even there, as we wander lost, trying to escape…the True Way shows up.
At the appointed time, at the precise right moment, Jesus reveals Himself and the veil is torn from our eyes. Just like with the two men on the Road to Emmaus, our eyes are blurred as our heads hang low. We are not able to see Him. But as He has walked with us for a while and we are ready to commune with Him, it is in the intimacy of the relationship that He shows Himself…and that’s when we say: “were not our hearts burning within us while He talked…” Were we not on fire as He walked with us?
Knowing the Truth doesn’t mean, however, we would be spared from walking the road to Emmaus. Sooner or later we might have to, anyway. Knowing the truth means that when we are on it, we don’t lose hope, for Hope walks with us, even if we can’t feel Him. He is always with us even when we don’t see Him. He is always on the road with us, even when we think we are alone. He is always the Light, even in the darkest night of our souls.
It is true, the Lord has risen. He has risen, indeed!