This is a dangerous Gospel! It is a dangerous because it might lead you to discover that your faith is missing two terribly important elements. The first of those two elements is a real encounter with Christ, and the other is the demand which that encounter makes upon your daily lives.
Did you notice that it was not until the “breaking of the bread” that the two disciples from Emmaus were able to recognise Jesus? The scriptures were a help; they provided intellectual support from God’s inspired word for the truth that Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant scriptures. In fact, in hindsight the two disciples remembered that their “hearts were burning” as the scriptures were unfolded for them by Jesus on that long walk.
Nevertheless, the real encounter only took place at the breaking, blessing and distribution of the bread. At that exact point, they recognised Jesus. Even when he “vanished” they knew beyond any doubt that he had been present to them in that Eucharistic action. Their “blindness” was removed; now they could “see,” even though Jesus was no longer present to their human eyes!
The other element is that demand such an encounter makes on us. The Gospel is not just a “nice” story to remember. It is also a call to participate in the mission of Jesus. Now he wants you to continue to spread the Good News of God’s love, and to invite your friends to “return” to the Church that Jesus established. Only in the “breaking of the bread” that blindness is removed, and people can truly “see.”
So, unless you are ready for “danger” – i.e., getting involved in the mission of Jesus, having some successes and many rejections – then you want to avoid the truth of this gospel! This is a story of real faith in the Risen Jesus and his sacramental presence in the Eucharist! This is the time to tell others what your Eucharistic faith means to you.
The breaking of the bread at the Last Supper was an action which the disciples would soon recognise again after his Resurrection. The Eucharistic table is the table, both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord, so superbly illustrated in the Emmaus story. Jesus explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant (as prophesied by Isaiah), and this was his specific interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and later to the Apostles.