11 Apr 2012

Did not our hearts burn within us?

On Wednesday of the Easter Octave, we reflect on the account of the disciples encounter with the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). This beautiful encounter is fundamentally Eucharistic.

The disciples are journeying together on the road. We journey together too when we come to celebrate the Eucharist together. The Risen Lord comes to meet them and walk with them, though they don't recognise Him in His glorified body. In the Eucharist the Risen Lord comes to meet us and walk with us, though we don't recognise Him with our senses - He is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. Jesus encourages the disciples to relate their story to Him. In the Eucharist we too bring our lives before God and relate our story to Him through prayers and petitions.

On the road to Emmaus "starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, Jesus explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself". The priest, in persona Christi, in the Person of Christ, explains the scriptures to us, showing us the unity of Scripture (Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and Gospel) in Christ.

On the road to Emmaus Jesus "took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them". The exact same action takes place during Mass. The priest, in the Person of Christ, takes the bread and wine and consecrates them to become the Body and Blood of Christ. We receive the Risen Lord when we receive Holy Communion. When the consecration took place at Emmaus, Jesus disappeared because He was sacramentally present there in the Eucharist.

What was the reaction of the disciples? They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?" Jesus is just as present to us today during the Eucharist as He was at Emmaus. Does my heart burn within me when I am present at Mass?? Do I long to spend time with the Risen Lord in Eucharistic adoration??

Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote: "The presence of Jesus in the tabernacle must be a kind of magnetic pole attracting an ever greater number of souls enamoured of him, ready to wait patiently to hear his voice and, as it were, to sense the beating of his heart" (Mane Nobiscum Domine 18).

The heart of the Risen Lord burns with love for you. He died and rose again for you. How will you respond?

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