The Gospel story of the disciple of Emmaus teaches us one crucial principle: An open heart to God solves everything.
Octave of Easter Devotional
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (full text at Luke 24:13-35)
Frustration clouds the mind
The resurrected Jesus is different from what they were used to seeing. That is why they do not recognize his “transformed” physical appearance. But more importantly, they don’t want to go deeper into the truth; they only want to see what their emotional state tells them.
Disappointed, having abandoned their faith, the two disciples walk from Jerusalem, where Jesus was crucified and buried two days earlier.
We can understand the emotional state of the disciples from our personal experience. There may have been situations in our lives when we expected something different and had a different idea of how things should be. Perhaps we expected God to intervene and spectacularly solve all our problems. Perhaps a person to whom we were much attached, to whom we were devoted, for whom we “did everything” left us because of death or other events.
Then there is a feeling of emptiness and aimlessness, a sudden loss of meaning in life. One feels infinitely lonely, left alone.
This is how Jesus’ disciples felt when they decided to give up everything and return home.
An open heart to God solves everything
But Jesus does not leave them in despair. He walks with them on the road. And at that moment, the disciples make a decisive decision: they open their hearts to the Risen One. An open heart to God solves everything.
Jesus gives them understanding. He takes the pain away from them. He frees them from frustration.
And so, little by little, the disciples of Emmaus begin to see: that in their most profound misery, in their darkest hour, they are still embraced by God; so that the terrible death of Jesus on the cross has not become a terrible, meaningless end, but a wonderful beginning. Jesus’ death has become a sign of God’s love from which nothing can separate us – neither life nor death.
Jesus opens the Scriptures to the disciples; he explains to them what is written about him in the books of the prophets.
Teach me to open my Heart
I, too, want to know Jesus better in the Easter Octave. To become more and more aware of God’s love; to admire that God has always wanted to be with us and wants to lead us along the path of his love.
“Lord, stay with us, for it will be evening, and the day is coming to an end.” So the disciples ask Jesus. They open their homes to him, and Jesus enters.
Prayer for Today
God, you are our Heavenly Father. When bitterness and discouragement grow in us, let Your word affect us; then send us one who will walk part of the way with us. When darkness and doubt grow in our hearts, God allow the light to come to us with our friends around the table and in the community of believers.
When sickness and nightfall upon us, when trust and security fade, God, please, stay with us. Then let our hearts burn in your presence. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.