28 As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. 29 But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. 31 With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. 32 Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”Luke 24:13-36
The Road to Emmaus is a personal favorite and one of the most powerful stories after the resurrection of Christ. It contains just about all the major themes (theology) and experiences of Christian life – a life believers understand well today. It is a pattern for the mass, for conversion, His presence in the Eucharist, and many other wonderful teachings about how God works to reflect and meditate on.
This year though, I was caught by verses 28 and 29. Even after talking and walking with Christ along the way (but not recognizing him), having him explain the scriptures to them, he still acts as if he’ll keep moving on. It wasn’t until the 2 men INVITED him to stay that he came, ate a meal with them, and then revealed in the Eucharist that He had been with them all along.
It’s a reminder that we need to make explicit invitation for Christ after we have had an encounter with Him. Sometimes that encounter comes clearly through reading scripture or receiving Him in the Eucharist during mass. Sometimes its encountering Christ acting through others, through healing and answered prayers, a visit or kind word when especially needed, sometimes it’s the odd coincidences that make us think we had an encounter with God. But in all cases, Christ will never invite Himself in. We must take the initiative and explicitly do so – or He might continue on His way. This doesn’t just happen once, we must make this invitation again and again as we meet Him in all these different and unexpected ways like the 2 disciples walking to Emmaus.
It’s a good practice, at least once a day, to explicitly invite Jesus into your life and whatever is going on. Maybe as simply as saying, “Lord Jesus, you are my Lord, my savior, and My God. I invite you to stay here awhile with me and be with me through <whatever this is I’m doing> today. Stay and rest in my heart and there break bread with me so we may live like this through eternity.”