If one might be permitted: Let us for a moment give Luke the right to have been writing in a bit of a mystical way.
Eventually, the church must walk away. Away from Jerusalem, away from the familiar workings and machinations of the faith out of which it was born. The Temple recedes in the history that Luke writes. Less and less of the story has anything to do with the Temple and, eventually, they get kicked out of Jerusalem all together. (Acts 8) The Gospel of Luke begins in the Temple with Zechariah and ends there as well with the Apostles giving praise to God. Acts is the story of the apostles moving out of the Temple and into the world.
The road to Emmaus is maybe a prefiguring of that movement. We are walking away from Jerusalem and away from Temple and place of memory. The tomb is empty. It will be a few years before it becomes a site for pilgrimage and even in the face of the possibility to do so, most Christians today have never and will never go to Jerusalem. The tomb was meant to stay empty, the cross was meant to remain bare, the lower rooms in the house in Bethlehem was meant to return to be the habitat of the critters for for that it was built.
If so, if indeed we are to be a Faith on the road and on the move, “Where then,” it has to be asked, “where is this Lord? Can we go on without knowing? Can we go on without hearing? Can we go on without touching the Holy?”
True human life is not lived in compartments. Today I will live in my soul, starting Monday, I will live mainly by my intellect and Tuesday night I will go to the gym and be all physical. We are “one” in soul, mind, and body and the Lord will address all of us, not just a bit of us. The Temple and its ritual and meaning was not a bad idea, it was merely not God’s last idea. The New Jerusalem has no Temple. (Rv 21:22)
We find ourselves on the road and we hear the story that moves within us as it is told. We take shelter from the dark and in the breaking of the bread there is revelation of the Holiest of Holy: The Lord. “Where not our hearts burning?” Where not their eyes opened. The two have met: the story and the lifting of the bread and in it, the Lord has somehow come.
The mystic reads: “Stay with us Lord,” with a heart that longs deeply and achingly. “Stay with me, Lord, Stay with me in this darkness, on this long road, through ship wreck and flights to the third circle of heaven.” It is a prayer: “stay with me, Lord.” Maybe John Paul II was right it was part of a liturgy once. A liturgy made not for Temple dwellers or seekers of holy places but for the common places and the impromptu moments when the Lord is heard and comes to seek his temples: his own, his disciples. (I Co 6:19)
This is that shift, that change, that Luke might be wanting for us to see. Once Zechariah and the apostles came to seek the Lord in Holy of Holies of the Temple. Now the Holy comes to them. Once the Lord bade them come now they bid him “stay.”