Now on that same day, the first day of the week, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.There was a radio program which became a television program entitled "You Are There". The program ended before I was born though I know it through reruns. Its goal was to place the viewer in the middle of historic events or epic periods in our history. When I consider today's Gospel reading, I often imagine it in that setting of "You are there".
It must have been almost jaw-dropping for Cleopas and his companion when Jesus asked them about their discussion. Clearly, Friday's crucifixion must have been the buzz for them to respond the way they did. Yet Jesus just gently listened as the two gave their account. He heard mourning and bewilderment in their voices as they recounted the crucifixion, death and burial from the standpoint of a follower. Now, they were perplexed over the empty tomb. And though they'd yet to recognize Jesus, he endeared himself to the pair as they asked Jesus to spend the evening. At the table, Jesus takes bread, just as he did a few days earlier, blessed it, then shared it with the pair. It was at this moment that they recognized the fact that the Lord was there in their presence.
I have to think that this was the first Eucharistic celebration of the New Testament era, and Christ was physically present. This imagery is close to my heart whenever we celebrate the Eucharist as Anglicans. In a sense, It is as if Jesus himself is there, saying "Take and Eat".