“Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us? ” (Lk. 24:32)
My first memory of the road to Emmaus story was in my childhood years, when I was serving the 6 am Mass in St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, in my hometown in Amlan, Negros Oriental. In this Gospel story, we are told of the two disciples travelling to Emmaus and didn’t realize the man who joined them was Jesus. After the breaking of the bread, he disappeared and upon realizing it was the Lord, the disciples’ reaction was about remembering feeling their “hearts burning inside”! This is another of those stories about the disciples failing to recognize Jesus!
This past week was special, in the sense that our beloved San Miguel Chaplain, Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, celebrated his birthday. Homilies were so beautiful, because it spoke of themes about life, about meaning, about purpose. One of his stories shared was about the Hebrews’ ancient beliefs of God, living in the majestic mountain, above the clouds. Of a place called “Sheol”, the “netherworld”, the place in the bowels of the earth, a place where they believed the dead to be congregated. Jacob refusing to be comforted at the supposed death of Joseph exclaims, “I will go down mourning to my son in the netherworld.” (Gen. 37:35) Reading the origins of this concept of Sheol made my hair stood on end! Imagine that place they say, “where souls go after dying?” Yet, with the Risen Jesus, we are hopeful that He will deliver us to our eternal home. We take refuge in the thought that with the Lord, we shouldn’t fear what happens. Life finds meaning as an effect. We realize that all the while, with life’s ups and downs, the Lord is journeying with us. Only that we didn’t recognize Him, just like the two disciples, or the others who didn’t. While early in life we are excited, later on once we realize whatever our purpose is, we become composed and quiet, knowing that we are journeying with God. The company of the Divine helps remove all fears in our hearts. It’s not how much we’ve accomplished, but how much we have loved.
Champions sense the presence of the Divine around which he organizes his life. He never walks alone. He feels his heart burning inside. And he knows it, he knows why.