13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, 29 but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” 33 And they arose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Jesus’ conversation with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus gives us a perfect idea of the disillusionment felt by his disciples after his apparent total failure. Cleopas’ words summarize Christ’s life and mission, his passion and death, the despair felt by his disciples, and the events of that Sunday morning.
Even as Jesus drew near to the disciples, they were oblivious to what was happening to them. It wasn’t until later that they said to one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us all he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” Holy scripture contained the prophecy that God would bring about Salvation through the redemptive passion and death of the Messiah. It was true with Jesus’ first followers as it is true for us today: that we have failed to understand his divine mission because we have misinterpreted the Old Testament texts if we bothered to read them at all. No one knew the meaning of sacred scripture like Jesus. After him, only the church has the mission and responsibility of conserving scripture and interpreting it correctly.
That does not mean then we check our brains at the door of the church. What it does mean is that we use all our faculties to learn and to embrace the church’s teachings and then apply them to our daily lives. It is by walking with Jesus, opening the scriptures, and by breaking the bread in the Most Holy Sacrament that we receive Christ into our hearts and give expression to his life in our daily lives.