Luke 24: 14-35
"That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus' disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
"What are you discussing as you walk along?"
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
"Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?"
And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"
They said to him,
"The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see."
And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?"
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, "Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
So he went in to stay with them.
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?"
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
"The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread."
The Gospel of the Lord- Praised to You, Lord Jesus Christ
This passage is one of my favorite passages in the Gospel of Luke. I love the intimacy of the dialogue here and the fact that they are 'walking together, talking, debating, sharing.' Let us enter into this passage prayerfully: Come Holy Spirit.
1st meditation point: They are walking away from Jerusalem, walking away from where the pain came from,...They are discouraged, confused and wearied by suffering and Jesus draws near to them, at this particular moment, when they feel so low. "Jesus drew near and walked with them." He approaches them in their despondency and despair (that loss of hope)- where in my life recently, during a difficult moment, did I know the Lord was with me, that He drew near to me? What was familiar that made me recognize that I wasn't alone in it? That Jesus was with me? What did I recognize in my heart?
2nd meditation point: Notice the verbs; they were 'conversing', 'debating' and 'walking', (as our Lord joined them as they walked) and then they 'stopped' walking.' When did they stop? What made them 'stop?' What was passing through their hearts? Perhaps the recollection of pain and suffering? Pain and suffering can make us 'stop moving forward' in the spiritual life, or they can be the very place of the deepest encounter with Jesus Christ. What can cause your heart to feel so low and sad, that you actually loose the ability to keep hoping and therefore keep moving forward with Jesus trustfully? When I think of this walk with them, I think of the many hikes I've gone on, up here and a 7 mile hike is a 'good hike' it will take a couple of hours. Here the disciples are walking with Jesus all this time, they are walking in the presence of God, the presence of Love and they don't know it intellectually, but, they know it in their hearts, because they urge him to stay with them. Where in your life, recently have you been keenly aware of being with Jesus, in a situation, or perhaps in moment of difficulty at work, or among others, and that persons company was 'so full of God' , that you just wanted them to stay with you, to keep talking to you?
3rd meditation point: "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us? This image is one of my favorite images, the image of a burning fire! This 'burning' the disciples are speaking of, is something interior, felt deep in the heart. Do you know this 'burning' in your heart? Do you know when the Lord is speaking to you and stirring you? When was the last time you felt your heart burning on fire, to say something to someone? To speak up when someone was being 'cut down' at work? To thank someone or encourage someone? To speak out when the conversation is not correct or just needs a charitable 'boost'. To leave your place in the grocery store line, to go help a little grandma pick up all the items she just dropped. Perhaps your heart is burning, to just love! I love to watch our Lord in this passage, when He feigns to "press on", and then 'decides' to stay with them. This is so utterly tender. Giving them the freedom of keeping his company or saying, 'that's enough.' As he comes with them and has dinner with them and breaks the bread, the connection clicks! in their minds and hearts..."It is the Lord!" and then he vanishes! That moment is so incredibly wonderful! I love it! Can you just see their faces! Intense joy and renewed vigor like never before in the hearts of these disciples! What an intense moment of recognition, encounter, joy and mission, all wrapped within a few minutes! Hear the disciples say to each other; " Were not our hearts burning within us, while he spoke..?" They say this to each other, almost to resonate between them, what they both 'knew' inside their hearts and wanted to confirm. This is an important statement/question, because Jesus wants us to know His presence in our hearts. He wants us to recognize his voice and His 'manner' with us, when he stirs our hearts. He wants us to know Him. It is here, in the heart, that we will come to know Him and recognize Him again and again in our lives, most especially in moments of suffering. He wants us to recognize His nearness. He comes near to us, when we ponder, debate and converse with him (especially in times of suffering) about what puzzles us, or confounds us, hurts us and saddens us, intrigues us and enlivens us. He comes near us when we open our hearts to him, when we allow Him 'in' our journey. How do we open our hearts to him? Look at these two disciples walking on the way. Perhaps our Lord asked if he could join them and they had to have said 'yes' to him somewhere and so he joined them. They 'let him in", into the mess of what was passing through their minds and hearts. They let him into the journey with them. They "let him in" into their thinking "right or wrong" they spoke their thoughts with him. They "let him in" into their pain.
Let Jesus into your pain, don't try to drown the pain, or numb the pain, we all try to do this in some shape or manner. Let Him into the pain in your heart, stay with him and ask him to stay with you in the pain and to 'speak to your heart', to open your heart to the Truth. Keep close to Him in the pain and allow Him to do what only Jesus can do~
Prayer: Lord, increase my faith and teach me to pray, open my heart that I may hear your voice ever speaking, ever loving me. Amen