“He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him”
Why is it that we sometimes lose sight of what is really important?
Our friend Cleopas and his companion were walking to Emmaus when they were joined by a stranger. But Cleopas and his friend were in despair, not only were they mourning the loss of a friend, which was bad enough, but also the death of the dearest hope of a whole nation.
But even though they didn’t recognise Him (and Biblical scholars still argue over why) Jesus took time and care to explain scripture to them, proving that the Messiah was meant to suffer these things and enter into His glory.
Jesus looked beyond the pain and suffering of the now to shed light on the reason for it and, of course, to show them the hope, the Good News, that the Messiah brings.
It was only when they invited Jesus to stay with them, and He sat at the table with them and broke the bread, that the veil was lifted, and they knew that Jesus was Lord and He had indeed risen.
What about us?
Do we sometimes fail to recognise Jesus, fail to recognise God when He is all around us?
Are we immune from doubt and despair? Of course not.
We walk the road to Emmaus on many a day of misgivings, when more bad news about the virus reaches our ears, when events make us question if God is in His heaven, even when reading scripture brings God no closer and our prayers seem to ring hollow.
Sometimes our hearts are as heavy as the two disciples on that road, sometimes our worries so fill our minds that we fail once again to recognise Jesus.
This is why the Eucharist, Holy Communion, is such a miracle of grace.
Holy Communion has the power to lift us off the wearying Emmaus road, to still the questioning and doubts, to place our troubles at the foot of the cross as we hold out our hands for the bread of heaven and the wine of the new covenant.
When, at last, we can all gather around the Lord’s table for bread and wine we can be confidant that our discipleship during these difficult times has not been in vain.
We know Jesus lives, not because a scholar told us, not because of stories of resurrection appearances, not because of the work done in His name, but because, quite simply, we meet Him where He’s always been, in the broken bread and the shared wine.
In our fear and despair, in this time of trial, He is with us. He has never left us.
He has walked with us every step of the way, even if we haven’t recognised Him.
He is with us.
So, when we all meet again, we will share the bread and the wine with our friends and our beloved Saviour.