Jesus once again breaks all boundaries with joy and wonder on the road to Emmaus and then offers the first Eucharistic model after the resurrection.
Acts reflects the delirious outburst of the new community and emerging church which is also conveyed by Peter. It is as if breathlessly, he can weave his way through the whole history from David to Jesus to create one seamless tapestry culminating in his staggering claim: ‘what he (David) foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ.’ If David could say he had a glad heart, a tongue crying out with joy, that he could realise he would not end in the death of Hades but would come to life by the presence of God – how can Peter not shout that out also: ‘God raised this man Jesus to life….he has received from the father, the Holy Spirit…what you see and hear is the outpouring of that spirit.’ Thus Peter takes up the theme of salvation now released for all humanity, from its long history through king, promise and a people to all humanity. God’s love is unleashed in flesh.
1st Peter takes up the implications of that truth as it reveals the features of God to humanity. A Father, Parent, God has no favourites, he judges justly, and has freed humanity through the death of Christ. Humanity can have faith and hope in God through Jesus, who is now the cosmic Christ.
It is not easy to place ourselves back into a world where all this was utterly new and incomprehensible. To say and believe that humanity could truly have faith and hope in God. This is a new image for God – removed far from the gods of the ancient world. This was the impact on those who experienced Jesus in the flesh and in the flesh now carried through death to resurrection. Its message is inclusive – God has no favourites – all are called to enter the cycle of life and death to new life.
The story of the two disciples walking to Emmaus as told by Luke, is yet another opportunity to retell this great salvation history: ‘Starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures which were about himself.’ This time, it is Jesus himself that retells his own long story to these two disciples. No wonder it was nearly evening when they got to the village! There is an ultimate, heart-rending poetry about the story in the end: ‘Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.’ So Jesus once again breaks all boundaries with joy and wonder as he offers the first Eucharistic model after the resurrection.