The Word of God Burning Within

April 3, 2024
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Readings for Today


And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30–31

Two of Jesus’ disciples had been discussing the events of the past week as they walked the seven-mile journey along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They previously had hoped that Jesus was the one Who would redeem Israel—but then He was killed. And three days later, there were rumors of His Resurrection, which only left them confused. As they journeyed, Jesus appeared to the two disciples, but they did not recognize Him at first. His identity was hidden from their eyes. Jesus listened to them and expressed sorrow at their lack of understanding, so He explained to them the teachings of Moses and the prophets and that the Messiah needed to suffer, die and rise on the third day. As Jesus spoke, the disciples began to understand, and their hearts burned within them. Finally, in the gift of the Holy Eucharist, in the breaking of the Bread, their eyes were opened to see that it was Jesus with them.

Why did Jesus hide His risen presence from these disciples? It appears that He did so because they lacked faith. They said, “…we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.”  But the Crucifixion was too much for them to handle. They could not comprehend why the Redeemer had to suffer as Jesus did, so they began to doubt.

Too often we are like these disciples who are confused about matters of faith and who struggle with doubts. For that reason, we must see ourselves in the persons of these disciples as they walked the road to Emmaus. Jesus offered these disciples a wonderful gift of mercy by helping them to understand His saving act. He explained to them all that was taught in Scripture regarding Him. And as these disciples listened to Jesus teach them, they slowly came to believe.

We, too, must allow Jesus to teach us about the transforming power of His death and Resurrection. We must listen attentively and allow our hearts to burn within us as we listen to His holy Word. Only in this way will we come to the level of faith we need to more fully comprehend and accept the transforming power of the Paschal Mystery.

Reflect, today, upon these disciples and their need to reflect upon the Word of God so as to understand, believe and have their eyes opened. Know that you need this same grace. You need to spend time with our Lord, immersed in His Word, listening to His voice, so that you will come to believe more fully. Allow the message of Jesus’ death and Resurrection to burn within you so that you, too, will come to believe.

My resurrected Lord, You appeared to these disciples who lacked faith and understanding and gave them the gift of Your holy teaching. Teach me, dear Lord, all that I must come to understand and know about You, Your death, Resurrection and glorious gift of new life. May Your Word burn within me and lead me to a transformation of my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

Day Six: Novena in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday

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Featured image above: The Emmaus Disciples By Abraham Bloemaert, via Wikimedia Commons