A good many years ago, I am not sure how many, a man who desired to come to know Jesus more closely asked his pastor, “Can you recommend a good biography on the life of Christ?” The pastor paused for a moment and then responded with another question; he asked the man, “Have you read the gospel of St. Luke? I think that is the best story that tells the life of Christ.”
In today’s gospel the church places before us one of the most beautiful stories in all of the four gospel accounts: it is the story of the two disciples walking home on Easter night, down cast because they fear that their hope that Jesus was the Messiah was a dashed hope because Jesus ended up being crucified.
This gospel story is the story of a journey.
The two disciples, one named Cleopas and the other unnamed, are walking into the sunset on that evening. They are discussing between themselves all that had happened to Jesus in the last few days and suddenly a stranger approaches and beings to walk along with them, but they don’t recognize who he is. He asks what they have been discussing and they are stunned that he doesn’t seem to know all that happened to Jesus.
Finally, they come to the town of Emaus and they invite the stranger to join them for supper. They sit at table and in the course of the meal the stranger takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and share it with the two disciples. Then a shocking thing happens, the stranger disappears.
But they came to recognize the stranger through the breaking of the bread. Their journey that evening that started so sadly is now changed; they have to share what they have heard and what has happened. Immediately they get up to make another journey; they rush back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples that they have seen the Risen Lord. What an end to the journey, but of course, it is not the end. Sharing the news that Jesus has risen from the dead is so shocking that they must join in making many more journeys sharing this Good News about Jesus and telling the story of all the wonderful things Jesus had taught them, all the miracles they witnessed, the forgiveness he showed and taught them to give to one another.
All of this was to be done through many, many journeys beginning with the apostles and disciples. First by word of mouth and traveling to one place after another. Years later to have this Good News written down as it would be by the Evangelists and with the passage of years, decades and centuries, more and more journeys would be made and this beautiful story shared.
Today it is once again shared with us, for us to listen to, reflect on, read again at home and like the man who once asked his pastor for a good story of the life of Jesus, we too can tell the story as we make our journey and be sure to take the Lord along with us as we go.
Continue to rejoice in this beautiful Easter season.