JESUS: The Travelling Companion
The road to Emmaus was no ordinary road. Three categories of people often walked on it. Victorious Roman soldiers, new Roman soldier recruits, and finally potential traitors. These two disciples would have belonged to the latter category. They turned their backs on Jesus. Jesus was now a name relegated to the long list of criminals and failed messiahs. His death was the end of the road of promise. They were mere ex-disciples of a dead prophet. Their story had no happy ending and flight was their best option.
The ‘Road to Emmaus’ is a road we all walk sometimes. Hope gives way to final defeat and disappointment. We walk away downcast! Amid this hopeless journey, ‘the Stranger’ walks besides us as a ‘travelling companion’. Jesus wants to hear your story however helpless or hopeless it may seem. Jesus now opens His story in the light of Scriptures.
The apparent dead prophet suddenly comes alive. Jesus connects the dots starting with Moses and the Prophets and concludes that his death was the accomplishment of God’s mission and not the collapse of it. All this while, every Jew knew the scriptures about God, but they never knew the God of their scriptures. Walking with Jesus, these two disciples are privileged to journey with the God of their scriptures. Jesus befriends them. “Stay with us, for it is evening,” they request him.
Give Jesus an inch and he will take a yard! At table, Jesus breaks bread together. He celebrates the ‘Eucharist’. Their seven-mile journey now has a happy ending. “Were not our hearts burning within us as he talked to us on the road,” they exclaimed. They recognise the ‘stranger’ to be the risen Lord.
There comes in everyone’s life a defining moment when things are never the same again. These ‘potential traitors’ become instant ‘courageous missionaries’ and ‘witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection’. The story of these two forlorn disciples is our story too. First, Jesus wants to hear your story of disappointment. “What things disturb you?”, he asks you. He will listen patiently. This is prayer. Jesus wants to listen to your disappointments, your anxieties, your troubles. So much in life doesn’t seem to make sense. But then, Jesus does not leave you alone on the road to hopelessness. He will journey with you as a ‘travelling companion’. He will enlighten you with the ‘Light of the Scriptures’, nourish you at the ‘Table of the Eucharist’, and empower you to be a ‘Courageous Missionary’.
The risen Lord was experienced differently at the tomb, the lakeside and on the road. For Mary Magdalene, he was a ‘gardener’. For Peter, a ‘wrapped up shroud’. For the disciples on the boat a ‘ghost’ and for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, a ‘travelling companion’.
What is your experience of the Risen Lord? Emmaus happens every time you walk to the Cathedral, partake of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and return home as courageous missionaries! This is your story with a happy ending.
Fr Glenford Lowe