We can imagine the feelings of the two disciples in today's Gospel. They are leaving Jerusalem because Jesus their friend has been crucified. Their hope is gone. They are trying to make sense of all that has happened. Then Jesus himself approaches them, but they take him to be a stranger. Jesus asked them what they were discussing on the way. He invites them to share their experience of the events that had taken place in Jerusalem over the past few days. After the two disciples have shared their experience Jesus offers his interpretation of his death and resurrection, taking them back to prophecies written about him in Scripture. “Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself” (Lk 24:27). In the first part of the story we have a model of the Liturgy of the Word. In response to their concerns and struggles the Lord breaks open the Word of God, the Scriptures to them. They later realized that as Jesus broke the Word, their hearts were burning within them as they listened to him on the road.
Jesus pretends as if to travel on giving them an option to see if they would want to go on beyond the Word-heard to the Word-made-flesh! The disciples invite the stranger (Jesus) to stay with them. So Jesus goes to stay with them. During the meal in which they share in the breaking of the bread, the disciples' eyes are opened; they recognize the stranger as Jesus “Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them” (Lk 24:30). Here we find a model for our Liturgy of the Eucharist. “And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; but he had vanished from their sight” (Lk 24:30-31).
After recognizing the Risen Lord, the disciples feel empowered. They now want to go back to Jerusalem to share their experience, and to give hope to those who are still waiting to experience Jesus. In the Eucharist we too listen to the Word and share in the breaking of the bread and discover Jesus in our midst. Just as the disciples returned to Jerusalem to recount their experience to the other disciples, we too are sent out from our Eucharistic gathering. Our experience of Jesus in the Eucharist compels us to share the story with others. . “Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognized him at the breaking of bread” (Lk 24:35).
At every Eucharist do “our hearts burn” as we listen to Jesus speak to us through His Word? Do we recognize Jesus at the breaking of the bread? If we have experienced Him in the Eucharist, do we go out and share this experience of Jesus with others?