Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35
“Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than it is to penetrate one’s own being.” – Carl Jung
They are on the road to Emmaus. Where the heck is Emmaus? Even our ancient Greek texts don’t agree how far it is from Jerusalem. Some say sixty stadia (about 7.5 miles). Others say a hundred sixty stadia (about 19.5 miles) or a hundred fifty three stadia (about 17.4 miles). Archeologists have yet to find the place; although they have three or four location guesses. Archeologists might be digging in the wrong place. Let us take a tip from Carl Jung and excavate into our subconscious. Emmaus may just be the place we go to when things are hard and we need to get away. It is the place of fleeing the coop when we can’t take it any longer. The two disciples on the road were disappointed because they thought that Jesus was to be the one to redeem Israel. Their hopes were crushed. They needed escape to ward off despair. Sometimes our inner need for escape externalizes itself: a bar, a movie, a new car, lots of comfort food, sleep, friends. Sometimes it could be prayer. Jesus himself often escaped to the desert or mountain to pray alone. We have all been to Emmaus. We know where it is and how it feels. Metaphoric Emmaus is not a bad place. It is sometimes necessary that we go there. But we know we can’t stay. Like the disciples at the end of this Gospel, we must return to Jerusalem. How? By recognizing Jesus. The two disciples said that they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35). As Luke tells the story the scene slows down as if in slow motion. As Jesus is giving the bread to them, in a long moment, their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. (See Greek below) Let us also slow down that moment and recognize Jesus and then go back to our Jerusalem, our hopeful life.
Almost all of our translations of Luke 24:30 in speaking of the bread say Jesus “gave it to them.” However, the Greek is not a simple past tense, a telescoped moment. Rather the word is in the imperfect tense and should rightly be translated “was giving it to them.” That draws out the moment. Luke makes it an ongoing event. Great verbal cinematography!
Bread broken slowly.
What is shattered knits wholeness.
Recognize him now?