Looking down the invitation-list of people who are at the party which is Luke’s gospel, we can see a host of colourful, even controversial, characters we might meet. There’s Luke himself, the physician and painter, companion of Paul and chronicler of the early Church, who sets out the testimony of many eyewitnesses to the great events he records. This host par excellence will introduce us to Elizabeth and Zechariah, Simeon and Anna, angels and shepherds, the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, the Pharisee and the Publican, Zaccheaus and the thief on the cross, Herod and Pilate … and many of them only appear at this party, in this gospel.
Now Luke wants us to meet all these people; but, more than this, he wants us to meet someone else – the person who speaks about or to each of them, and speaks through this gospel to us, too. Of course, he wants us to meet Jesus, not just as one more character in the story, but as the person who makes sense of the story itself. Right at the end of the gospel, it’s Jesus we meet – with the two disciples – on the road to Emmaus and at supper in the inn. He unfolds the meaning of the scriptures and of the story of his own life and death and resurrection. Jesus restores their hope and faith, fills them with fresh meaning and purpose. And Luke wants us to meet this Emmaus Jesus, too, so that we might experience the understanding and meaning only he can offer. May we encounter the Jesus of this great gospel as he unfolds the scriptures to us and meets us in the breaking of bread.