In the account of the two disciples travelling to Emmaus, we see a nascent outline of what would eventually become the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The “assembly” consisted of the two, with Jesus “presiding”. The interpretation of Scripture by Jesus as they were walking, and the “opening of their eyes” at the table, prefigure the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, respectively. We read in the Gospel of Luke:
“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. 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. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:27-31)
Although they didn’t recognize Jesus as they travelled, the disciples were moved by His words enough to extend an invitation to stay in their home. The progression that takes place at Mass, from the gathering of the assembly and hearing the kerygmatic word, through the culmination in the sharing of Eucharist, are basically contained in this conclusion of the pericope:
“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?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Luke 24:32-35)
May we encounter Christ as we engage in full, conscious and active participation at Mass, and in the journey of daily life with one another on the road to Heaven.