3rd Sunday of Easter Year A - 4/5/2014 - Gospel: Lk 24: 13-35
A burning heart
The two persons on the road to Emmaus were not members of the Apostles since the story ended with them going to report to "the eleven" what had happened (24:33). Some of this "group" also had heard of the empty tomb (24:24) because they said 'some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of Him they saw nothing'.

The Risen Christ appeared to different persons at different times and at various locations but none of them recognized Him. Jesus must have had normal human features as we are because the story told us that the two persons on the road to Emmaus had spent a considerable time listening to Him. He explained to them about Moses and all the prophets and the Scriptures that were about Himself but they recognized not Him. At the end of the day they invited Him to share their table He "took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them" (24:30). The actions were almost identical to those in 22:19 at the Last Supper and they recognized Him but He vanished from their sight. They said to each other: 'did not our hearts burned within us as He talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?'

The story of the Emmaus reveals that knowing about Jesus and loving Jesus are two different things. To love someone doesn't mean that we need to know everything about that person. We need to know something about the person in order to love, but not everything. To love Jesus we need to know something about Him as the starting point and then open our mind and heart to the Spirit of God who will reveal for us about God's love and grace. Knowing Jesus and His teachings means having knowledge of Jesus but not necessarily loving Him as the case of the two persons on the road to Emmaus. They couldn't recognize the Risen Christ simply because their marvelled at His wisdom but not love Him. Their hearts are not burnt from within. We need a burning heart to love Jesus as the two persons later confessed that they didn't recognized Jesus because their hearts were not burn and their spiritual eyes were not opened.  What made their hearts burn and their eyes opened was seeing Jesus breaking of the bread. Their love for Jesus was so strong that they wasted no time going out in the middle of the night to spread the good news about the Risen Christ.

Human knowledge can lead us to know more about the historical Jesus, the empty tomb, the linen and cloth and the crucifixion. They are real historical facts of Jesus and they are unable to lead us to have faith in Christ but the Spirit of the Risen Christ can. We need God's grace to believe. We need divine intervention to open our inner life to believe. We need the gift of the Spirit Jesus promised to His disciples for a burning heart.