That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24.32b-35)
It might be late, it might be dark, it might be seven miles back, they might be tired and the meal might still be on the table – but nothing would stop them. They grabbed their cloaks and headed back the way they had come. They were on fire with the Spirit. They had to tell the others. This was such good news; they could barely hold it in. And the miles flew past, what had seemed a long journey before seemed no distance now, as though they were whisked along by God.
They got to the place where the disciples were staying with Mary. The doors were locked – they must all be in fear. But they banged on the door, insistent and eventually it was opened to them. They burst into the room. But instead of a room filled with grief, people were aglow with joy.
They couldn’t get their news out before one of the others said, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ They could have been disappointed. They wanted to share their good news but they were filled with joy and then they told everyone about what had happened to them on the journey and how they knew him ‘in the breaking of the bread.’
On most occasions when we celebrate the Eucharist we invite people to communion with these words
Jesus is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
Blessed are those who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word, and I shall be healed.
It is a moment to look up and see as the priest holding the host, the bread, before us and to recognise the presence, the real presence of Jesus with us. Every time we come to the altar it is an Emmaus moment, we know the Lord ‘in the breaking of the bread’. It is a resurrection moment for the Lord is risen and is with us. It is a moment of Good News and that news is being proclaimed ahead of us and our lives and our experience of Jesus can confirm what others have said. We are all part of this ‘movement of … the grateful heart’ as Nouwen describes it. As the hymn puts it
We have a gospel to proclaim
Good news for all in all the earth;
The gospel of a Saviour’s name:
We sing His glory, tell His worth.
your Son made himself known to his disciples
in the breaking of bread:
open the eyes of our faith,
that we may see him in all his redeeming work;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.