We are not certain of the location of Emmaus, but Luke tells us that it was seven miles from Jerusalem. There seems to have been no real purpose in the disciples taking the journey, which was quite a distance. Perhaps they were so distraught by the events of Good Friday that they just needed to get away, talk things over and share their grief. The BBC recently filmed a diverse group of pilgrims making their way to the shrine of Fatima in Portugal; as they progressed,they spoke to one another about their different faiths - Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew and no belief. Their minds became more open to the creeds of others as their relationships developed.
The road to Emmaus became a pilgrimage as well, though that was not the initial purpose. Cleopas and his companion had been looking to Jesus to provide what they longed for: an end to the Roman occupation and a return to what they saw as Israel’s glorious past. They had taken the wrong road so it no surprise that there seems to have been no destination in their minds. The stranger who joined them began to show them another path which ended when he broke bread with them in the evening. It was then that they recognised the Lord, who had won a very different victory to what they had expected.
We pray that, when we take the wrong road during our journey through life, Jesus will join us and gently shepherd us to where he wants us to be.