Last Sunday, we heard the wonderful Gospel recounting the encounter of some disciples with the Risen Jesus on the Road to Emmaus.  Below is a reflection I wrote for Give us This Day on this Gospel: 

Wouldn’t you love to take a walk with Jesus?  In our culture, walking has become a great pastime, providing a wonderful time to talk and share.  Whether fast-paced or slow and deliberate, walks with another can provide learning, friendship, intimacy, and a renewed spirit.

The Road to Emmaus by Duccio di Buoninsegna (Public Domain)

The Road to Emmaus by Duccio di Buoninsegna (Public Domain)

In many ways, a walk embodies the pilgrimage or journey through life.  Some walk in an aimless direction, even describing their movement as “walking in circles.”    When Jesus walked on earth, however, those who walked with him proceeded in a purposeful direction. In fact, in the first days of Christianity the walk was called “the Way.”

Walks have a way of changing people.  In the Christian faith (as in other faiths), the time-honored pilgrimage or procession shapes the mind and heart of the walker.  Just as over the centuries walkers have been transformed, so today Jesus transforms those who walk with him along “the Way.”

Today’s Gospel records one such famous walk. The Risen Christ comes upon two disciples as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  After listening to the woes of these followers, Jesus interprets the Scriptures as they walk together.  As he explains along the way and then breaks bread with them, their eyes are opened to this life-changing encounter with him. Only after he vanishes from their sight can they say, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us!”

We are people of “the Way.” While we pray and when we meet strangers, we walk with Jesus—and he transforms our lives.

(Text of reflection reprinted with permission. Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic,” April 2017

[Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press])


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