“Were not our hearts burning within us as he was talking to us on the road?” (Luke 24:32)
On the third day after Jesus’ death, not all disciples have come to believe in the resurrection. In fact, two disciples leave Jerusalem for Emmaus. On the road, they likely discuss their sorrow at Jesus’ death, uncertainty about their safety, and puzzlement over the empty tomb.
Jesus begins to walk with them. One might wonder, what was going through his mind? Did He want to comfort the disciples in their sorrow or frown at their disbelief? He could have announced Himself, putting an end to their questioning, but “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” Still, He simply asks what they are talking about.
The disciples tell Jesus about Himself: that He was a prophet, His death on the cross, and the mystery of the empty tomb. Jesus still does not reveal Himself, but teaches them “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, and he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.”
As we go about our day, do we leave Jesus behind as we puzzle over matters of work and family? When we go out into the world, it is easy to get drawn into the flurry of solving problems until we are home. And though we seem to set Jesus aside, He is always with us, whether we recognize Him or not.
Moreover, Jesus does not force us to see Him. When he comes to us, he gently asks us questions, teaches us, and waits to be invited closer. In the Gospel passage when night falls, “he walked ahead as if he were going on,” wanting an invitation to stay with the two disciples.
Once He breaks bread, the disciples finally recognize Him. When Jesus disappears, they exclaim, “Were not our hearts burning within us as he was talking to us on the road?” They hurry back to Jerusalem, unable to wait until morning to share the good news with the apostles.
Once we recognize that Jesus is working in our lives, it is necessary to tell others. This extends to the ultimate good news–Jesus’ resurrection–as well as daily small miracles. The first step of this journey begins with a decision to invite Jesus in, to let Him lead us, and to allow Him to set our hearts burning.