On Easter Thursday, a week after Holy Thursday, the traditional day we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist, we continue reading the account from Luke’s Gospel of the two Emmaus disciples who recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread and in the scriptures. After he appears to them , they return to Jerusalem, to the Eleven and his other followers with their message.
They’re told: “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon.” They recount their experience “on the road”, and their message is affirmed. They take their place among the witnesses.
Jesus then appears to all of them, the Eleven, the others who have come up from Galilee, the Emmaus disciples – all are “startled and terrified”, wondering if they’re seeing a ghost. Jesus then shows them the wounds in his hands and side. He takes some fish and eats them and then, “opening their minds”, he explains the scriptures to them.
Do the Emmaus disciples represent those who meet the Risen Jesus “on the way” and know him through the breaking of the bread and the scriptures? They might be us. They’re not like the Eleven who knew Jesus in the flesh, the Galileans who were with him in Galilee as he taught and worked wonders. Now, though, they join them in the same mission: to be witnesses that “the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead on the Third Day, and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem. “ (Luke 24:35-48)
Each Resurrection account from the gospels adds its own dimension to the mystery of the Risen Jesus. Luke’s account seems to emphasize the role of those who meet him “on the way,” and know him through the scriptures and the breaking of the Bread. Luke’s church is made up increasingly of gentiles, who live far from the places where Jesus lived and died and rose again.
They have the same mission as the Eleven from Galilee. Like us.