When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight.
They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road
and opened the Scriptures to us?’
The encounter between Cleopas and Jesus on the Emmaus road is well loved, despite the fact that little is known of Cleopas and his unnamed friend. It is the story of two friends leaving Jerusalem and discussing the events of the crucifixion, when they are joined by a stranger as they walk along. The conversation on the road is stimulating and they invite the stranger to stay with them. The two friends do not recognise Jesus until he blesses and breaks bread. They then rush back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples that they have seen Jesus.
The encounter reminds me that Jesus is often around in places and ways that we don’t always recognise. Jesus is with us, even when we don’t realise it – sometimes because we aren’t looking, sometimes because we are distracted, and sometimes because we just don’t expect Jesus to be there. This is a challenge to us: to pay attention to what Jesus is doing in the world, especially in places we don’t expect and amongst people we don’t envisage.
God of the Emmaus Road,
you walk beside us all the days of our lives,
the days we see you and the days we don’t.
You are always with us.
You make yourself known in breaking bread.
Help us to find you in the unexpected places,
with the unexpected people;
to see where you are dwelling,
where you want to us to be too.
Grant us the Holy Spirit
to encourage and strengthen us
in the unusual and unexpected places you lead us.
You can download this Prayer for the Week here