13 Now on that same day two of them were
going to a village called Emmaus, about
seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking
with each other about all these things that
had happened. 15 While they were talking and
discussing, Jesus himself came near and
went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept
from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them,
“What are you discussing with each other
while you walk along?” They stood still,
looking sad. 18 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?” 19 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, 20 and how our chief priests and
leaders handed him over to be condemned
to death and crucified him. 21 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. 22 Moreover, some women of our group
astounded us. They were at the tomb early
this morning, 23 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. 24 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.” 25 Then he said to
them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how
slow of heart to believe all that the prophets
have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that
the Messiah should suffer these things and
then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning
with Moses and all the prophets, he
interpreted to them the things about himself
in all the scriptures. 28 As they came near the
village to which they were going, he walked
ahead as if he were going on. 29 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. 30 When he was at the table with them,
he took bread, blessed and broke it, and
gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were
opened, and they recognized him; and he
vanished from their sight. 32 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?” 33 That same hour they got up and
returned to Jerusalem; and they found the
eleven and their companions gathered
together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has
risen indeed, and he has appeared to
Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened
on the road, and how he had been made
known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Luke tells a story unique to his gospel.
Jesus had been crucified, his body
placed in a tomb; but it was discovered
that his body was no longer there.
Stories began to surface on that Sunday
about Jesus being resurrected from the
Two of Jesus’ followers, possibly
Cleopas and his wife, left the disciples
and their companions in Jerusalem and
headed for home. They were sad and
cloaked in disappointment.
They had hoped that Jesus would
redeem Israel, cleansing Israel’s sins
and restoring the Promised Land of
their ancestors back under Israel’s
But their hopes were crucified and
dead. They were disappointed in their
The two were walking home to
Emmaus when they crossed paths with
Showing hospitality to one another, the
stranger listened to the pair as they
shared their sadness and
Then the two listened as the stranger
shared his perspective on their Jesus.
His words made the two think.
The stranger was invited into their
home to share a meal and lodging, as
evening was approaching. This type of
hospitality was not uncommon in
At supper, the stranger took bread,
blessed it, broke it, and shared it. The
two had seen these actions many times
before as part of traditional, Jewish,
family meals. But most recently, they
must have witnessed Jesus doing these
same actions at his Last Supper with his
friends in Jerusalem.
That evening, at their table, they not
only recognize the familiar actions,
they also recognize the stranger as
Jesus. He quickly vanished.
The two hurried back 7 miles to
Jerusalem to tell the disciples: “We
have seen the Lord; he was made
known to us in the breaking of bread.”
Luke’s story reminds me of two
First, while as Christians we believe
that Christ Jesus is present in the
breaking of the bread in the Holy
Mystery of the Eucharist, it is also true
that whenever we ‘break bread’, El
Shaddai (God our provider) is present.
We don’t have to be in a church or
synagogue or temple to be in the
presence of God. Too often we divide
life into categories of sacred and
Jesus is made known in Emmaus in a
home during a simple meal.
And, I believe, God is present in
everything God has created.
God is present in the land and seed that
produced the wheat to make the bread,
in the labor that made the bread, and in
the bread, as well as in the lives with
whom we share the bread. God created
all and God is present in all.
When we ‘break bread’ with friends at
home or in a restaurant, do we
recognize that God is there with us?
Would it make a difference in our
conversations? Would it inspire us to a
deeper appreciation of one another and
the hands that helped to provide for us?
Would recognizing that God is present
arouse our hearts to accept how very
blessed and loved we really are?
I’ve come to understand, acknowledge
and greatly appreciate that God is
present in common, everyday life. I
think this is so because it is an
expression of God loving us and
investing in us beyond our
The second reality Luke’s story
reminds me of is this:
there have been times when, like the
two followers along the road to
Emmaus, I’ve been disillusioned and
disappointed in God.
As they had hoped for a different
outcome, so had I. I’d invested my tears
and prayers, pleading with God. The
answer never came as I anticipated.
Maybe you can relate to this
experience. Sometimes we hope and
pray for our children or spouse, for
employment or health, and situations
do not evolve as we had hoped and
I’m learning that, like the two followers
of Jesus along the Emmaus road, it does
me well to be open to God’s vast
wisdom and creative compassion when
Years ago, Sue Teagarden was
diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She
was a dear friend of my family and my
former Sunday School and Vacation
Bible School teacher.
Her church family and friends prayed
for Sue’s healing. Her preacher kept
praying and telling her week after
week, month after month, “God will
heal your body if you have enough
faith.” His well-intended words didn’t
help the situation – instead, they made
enemies for that narrow-minded
Though her faith was strong, God didn’t
heal Sue of the MS.
As her body withered and her eyesight
rapidly diminished, something
incredible happened in Sue.
Her presence glowed. Her attitude was
joyful. Sue smiled as best her body
would allow and she welcomed visitors
with beaming love and gratitude.
Sue had been healed – not her body, but
her mind and spirit. She was healed,
not on the outside but on the inside –
and she extended God’s healing to
those who came to see her, people like
Sue believed she had indeed been
healed, and I witnessed God’s miracle
every time I visited with Sue.
Over the 15 years she lived with MS,
countless individuals were touched by
the hand of God through the miracle of
When we visited together, Sue would
always describe for me the ways God
was actively blessing her, right there in
the chair in which she was confined to
I don’t know why God didn’t heal her
body; but I know God healed Sue and
healed the minds and spirits of many
others through her.
I am most grateful for knowing Sue,
for her love, and for her incredible gift
of God’s creative, miraculous
compassion alive in Sue.
The stories of people like Cleopas and
his wife along the road to Emmaus and
Sue Teagarden can inspire us to be
open to discovering God’s creative
compassion and wisdom often revealed
beyond our limited perspectives and
And, our own stories have the power to
inspire others to engage God in their
own relationship, if we tell our stories.
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.