Today’s reading from Luke is typical of Luke in at least three ways. First, Luke (and also Acts, written by the same author) is filled with roads and journeys. Remember Saul on the Damascus road, or the Ethiopian eunuch on the desert road, or the detailed description of Paul’s ocean voyage beginning in Acts 21? Today’s reading takes place on the
Second, more than the other Gospels, Luke is the “food gospel.” Luke is the gospel that contains the story of the rich man and Lazarus (the rich man “who feasted sumptuously every day,”). Luke is the Gospel that gives us the parable of the Great Banquet: “Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled” (14:23). And Luke is the one who tells us the story of the Prodigal Son, whose father killed the fatted calf upon his return home. Lastly, perhaps more than the other Gospels, Luke delights in surprising the reader. Luke surprises the reader with beautiful poetry, like the Song of Simeon or Mary’s Magnificat. Luke surprises the reader with extraordinary circumstances: like the angel announcing to Mary, or like Zechariah (John the Baptist’s father) being struck dumb. Luke surprises the reader with unexpected endings, like the Samaritan – and not the priest or the Levite – being the one to stop to help the man beaten by robbers. In today’s gospel lesson, the disciples are surprised that it is Jesus who has been speaking to them on the road and who broke bread with them.
As we consider today’s gospel passage on this Wednesday in Easter Week, I hope it might remind us of the journey we are on: to live as those who share in Jesus’ resurrection. I hope it might help us appreciate the magnitude of the meal we share each week in the Eucharist: “This is my body,” “This is my blood.” And I hope it might help to open us to the surprising ways in which God delights to make himself known: all around us in every-day life, in places we don’t expect.