Did not our hearts burn within us?

Today’s Gospel reading begins with two disciples who are discouraged and downcast. They put their faith in Jesus, hoping that he would lead a rebellion against Rome and ‘set Israel free.’ Their hopes were shattered when they saw Jesus die on the Cross. Now they are heading for home, sad and disappointed. They have heard reports of the empty tomb, but it seems impossible to believe.

When the two disciples meet the risen Christ, he doesn’t reveal himself right away. Instead he walks with them and engages them in conversation. He explains the Hebrew Scriptures that they know so well, and opens their minds to understand God’s plan of salvation. Finally, Jesus joins the disciples at the table and they recognise him when he breaks the bread with them. But then he is gone! They hurry back to Jerusalem to share what they have seen.

When we gather to celebrate Mass, we may be feeling discouraged by our sins and by the struggles of our life. Jesus walks with us, speaks with us and opens our hearts and minds to understand God’s love. He feeds us with his body and blood. Jesus led the two disciples on the road to Emmaus from disbelief to faith, from disappointment to joy. He wants to lead us to a joyful faith in him – a faith that changes our life.

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