“Communion with Jesus means becoming like Him. With Him we are nailed to the cross, with Him we are laid in the tomb, with Him we are raised up to accompany lost travelers on the journey. Communion, becoming Christ, leads us to a new realm of being. It ushers us into the kingdom… There we belong to Christ and Christ to us, and with Christ we belong to God. Suddenly the two disciples who ate the bread and recognized Him are alone again, but not with the aloneness with which they began their journey. They are alone, together, and know that a new bond has been created between them. They no longer look at the ground with downcast faces. They look at each other and say; ‘Did our hearts not burn when He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?'” (Henri Nouwen, With Burning Hearts)
Have you ever felt like you were walking in a fog? Not literally a fog, but a mind-fog? Everything around you seems out of focus, you’re mind is clouded with anxiety and fear, and you’re left wondering What is going on in my life? What next?
That’s how I imagine the two disciples felt on the road to Emmaus. Some crazy stuff just went down and they are trying to figure it all out. The man they hoped was going to redeem Israel was crucified, and now nobody knows where his body is. They are doubtful about those second (maybe even third) hand accounts of angels saying He was alive. Who to believe? What does it mean? What happens now?
And then a stranger walks up and seems clueless to the world-shattering events of the previous week. Even more amazing is how he goes on to explain how those events were necessary for the prophesies to be fulfilled. This guy clearly knows his stuff, and during times of trouble, who wouldn’t want to keep someone like that close? It’s no wonder they ask this man to come and break bread with them.
I’ve been there, brothers.
How many times have I walked along my own dusty Emmaus road, my mind clouded with worry? Big things or little things, or little things that seem like big things, get in the way of seeing Jesus around me. Like the two disciples in the story I am so preoccupied with my own doubts and fears that I can’t see Jesus even when he’s standing right in front of me.
It’s only when I’m taken out of myself that the fog lifts and I can see clearly. Oh! I think. My problems and worries seem small compared to the glory of God. I may not fully comprehend what to do next, or what is going to happen next, but here’s what I do know: I am loved, and I am not alone.
To me this is what the Eucharist reminds us every Sunday. We re-enact the Last Supper, the last thing Jesus and his friends did together. I think there is a transporting power in the Eucharist–we are not only there with Jesus and his friends, we are also with the many billions of people through the ages who have also come together to break bread. One bread, one body isn’t just about the here and now, it includes the many theres and thens as well.
When the two disciples sit down to break bread with this stranger it is only when he begins to re-enact that last meal that their eyes are opened. May our eyes be similarly opened to the presence of Jesus in those around us.