As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. – Luke 24.28 – 31
The walk to Emmaus is a beloved story of Easter week. It’s set three days after the Resurrection, perhaps placing it on a Wednesday afternoon.
Among the many joys of this passage, the connection between Eucharist and Contemplation (i.e. seeing) is very clear. The resonance of blessing, breaking and giving of the bread was the Icon through which they perceived beyond the senses and recognized and saw the Resurrected Presence.
One insight from this passage is that we never know when the eyes of our heart will be opened to see the Presence. It can happen at any moment. And this is a kind of contemplative awakening: a seeing deeper into the Love amidst the ordinary experiences and events of our relationships and tasks.
Another insight is the recognition that Presence can’t be controlled, only received and experienced. Just as unexpected as the Presence comes, so too it departs. This teaches us something of the nature of the Resurrection state: it is not the same as just having a resuscitated body again. There is clearly something different about the Resurrection Jesus than the Incarnation Jesus.
During the Easter Season Jesus is in the process of disappearing – constantly inviting his disciples to let go of their physical experience of him to receive the inward Presence of the Spirit. Jesus’ disappearance will reach its completion with the Ascension, a reminder that our own journeys are an ever increasing releasing of our self as we “disappear” with Christ in God (Colossians 3.3).
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