The climax is the moment of recognition in the breaking of the bread. But it is important to recognise that there are a variety of presences in the narrative: at the beginning Jesus is present in their shared grief; he is present in the unveiling of the scriptures; he is present in the breaking of the bread; and he is present in their proclamation that Christ who died has risen, even as he is absent.
It is this last point that takes us into the mystagogy of the title. Mystagogy is the fourth phase of the RCIA which itself is a journey into faith. The Catechism describes mystagogy as ‘proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the sacraments to the mysteries’.
One thing is clear from the Emmaus account: as the visible Christ becomes the invisible Christ, he is no less present in a relationship with the disciples that moves them to mission and proclamation. The breaking of the bread is the visible, prophetic, life-giving gesture of Jesus which actually takes shape in the lives of these disciples. Something like this is at the heart of what is called mystagogy. The invisible takes shape in the disciple. By this shall everyone know that you are my disciples. One could speak about the death and resurrection of Christ as the DNA of the Christian. It is what is also called grace, that God-shaping of us by the divine goodness.