Saturday, February 2, 2013


Today, I accompanied my eight year old to church at 9 AM to participate in a workshop that is part of the preparation for his First Holy Communion.   One of the elements of the workshop was the director from the parish reading a version of the story of the road to Emmaus.  I have always liked the story (perhaps not as much as our director who described it as one of her favorite stories from the Bible), but my view of the story has changed in the past six months.  Back in September, I was at a wedding of two runners who used the story of the road to Emmaus as the Gospel reading for their wedding mass.  I blogged about it back then, so I won't repeat my earlier thoughts here.  

I will, however, comment on two things.  First, it is wonderful for the kids to think about ways that they might be surprised to "meet Jesus".  Second, while I thought about it last time as a runner, I thought about it today with that in mind but also as a "baker" as we talked about and participated in making unleavened bread.  I was glad to hear the diretor make a point about unleavened bread because in at least one of our parish Sunday school textbooks there is a picture of Jesus at the last supper with what is clearly a loaf of bread that had a chance to rise which is just so wrong.  Third, the director's emphasis was on how the two people on the road to Emmaus recognized Jesus because of something he did as part of a meal that they recognized.  So much of this is about how people related. (As a brief aside, this is also critical to me looking ahead as my new position will really involve working with people more than working with data or research and that is a skill that really shows in the story of Emmaus.)

What I struggled with in listening to the story this morning was that in the version read to the kids it identified the two on the road to Emmaus before meeting Jesus as two men. So, I went back to the NABRE version of Luke 24:13-35 and it never says they were two men.  It only mentions the name of one.  I'd always pictured two men until the wedding in September where my one friend suggested that it might have been a couple and the beauty of the idea of discovering Jesus together.  If one focuses on verse 32 (and I don't typically like to focus on just one verse), one finds "Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"  That alone is an amazing thought for a couple.  To share the love for, passion for, and joy for their spiritual, religious experience and relationship with God.  It is a wonderful way for a couple to come together and an even more amazing way for a couple to stay together.

I suppose I'll ask our director tomorrow before I teach what she thinks about the two people on the road.  Regardless, it was a great story for a wedding four months ago, and a great story for the kids today.  And, as the director said, it gives us so much to think about in terms of how Jesus relates to us and how we related to each other and God in just 23 verses.  

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