The Road to Emmaus is All Around Us

Saint Luke’s Gospel tells the story of two disciples who were joined by a stranger along the road to Emmaus. They did not immediately recognize the stranger as the risen Lord, but as they reached their destination they urged Jesus to stay with them and break bread. At table Jesus broke bread, gave it to them, and vanished from their sight. The disciples remarked, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road?”

The geographic location of Emmaus is unknown and historians and archeologists have been unable to locate a village by that name. The late theologian Marcus Borg would often write, “Emmaus is nowhere, because Emmaus is everywhere.” Emmaus is everywhere because we often encounter Christ along the way, in the unexpected places, in the breaking of bread, and not in one isolated location.

Christ’s revelation in the breaking of bread is twofold. We encounter Christ in the Holy Eucharist as we break bread together and share in the sacred meal of his death and resurrection. We also encounter Christ in community at table. When we gather for meals with Christians sisters and brothers, we witness to the truth that Jesus is always with us, even in the simple sharing of food and drink.

The road to Emmaus is about trusting our burning hearts and seeing Jesus along the way, in the places we least expect, and especially in the faces of our friends and neighbors. The Emmaus story is about seeing Jesus in the Eucharist, in the breaking of bread, and in the love of God that binds us into one risen body.

The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Associate Rector