The two disciples walking to Emmaus know all the facts about Jesus: where he came from, what he said and did, and the circumstances of his terrible death. They even know about the empty tomb. But the story makes no sense to them. To follow Jesus, and be one of his disciples, was exciting and life-giving: but now, it all seems to have ended badly. The adventure is over, and the disciples are leaving Jerusalem, sad and downcast.
In the time that Jesus spends with the two disciples – unrecognised – he changes everything for them. He opens the Scriptures and explains the prophecies that were pointing to him. He makes their hearts burn within them. Finally, they recognise Jesus when he breaks the bread for them.
Knowing about Jesus can never be enough for a disciple. The facts alone won’t change our lives. But when we encounter the risen Christ in person, then it will begin to make sense, and our hearts will burn within us. Jesus is walking with us on the journey of life, even if we don’t recognise him. We meet him as the first disciples did, in the Word of God, and when he feeds us in the Eucharist.