Emmaus: A liturgy?

Nicholas King SJ

Nicholas King SJ suggests that one way of reading the Emmaus story (Luke 24.13-35) is as a liturgy. This article approaches the story by way of its three-fold context, before going on to read it as a liturgy. Nicholas King SJ is a New Testament scholar and teaches at the University of Oxford.

The three-fold context
First, it is worth noting that the Emmaus story is one of a series of what you might call ?disastrous dinner parties? in Luke. Not all of them are precisely dinner-parties, nor are they all disastrous, but they reveal to us something of the way in which Luke operates. They are as follows: i) At Levi?s house (5.27-39); ii) At the house of Simon the Pharisee (7.36-50); iii) At the home of Martha and Mary (10.38-42); iv) At the house of a Pharisee (11.37-54); v) At a Pharisee?s house on the Sabbath (14.1-24); vi) At Zacchaeus? house (19.1-10) (this is a turning point, and we should notice that Jesus is the host at all the rest of the series); vii) A Passover meal (22.7-38); viii) At Emmaus (24.28-35); ix) With the Eleven Plus Two (24.36-43).

Second, it is important to see what happened immediately before in the unfolding of Luke?s story. Jesus has been buried (23.52-53); there is no question at all that he was dead, and that his death was attested by witnesses (23.46-49).

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