Burning, listening and welcoming
Jesus is the last word about unheeding, cold and uncaring hearts turning into hearts that listen, are burning and welcoming.
The disciples heading toward Emmaus know that the word, like the flames shooting out of burning brush, spreads quickly. Hence, the question of someone who has joined them on the road surprises them. Asks one then, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know what has taken place these days?”
Quickly, they inform the visitor they do not know now, perhaps due to their dejection, of the latest events. And they speak with eager and burning hearts. Never mind their disappointment and their plan to return to their former way of life. The mention of the story from the women further suggests uncertainty on the part of the disciples.
It turns out, however, that the one who apparently is not abreast of what is happening knows more than they do. So, he ends up explaining Scripture to the foolish and slow of heart. In turn, they feel their hearts burning, listening and welcoming. Then at last, he opens their eyes while at table with them. Unmistakable to them is what he does at the breaking and blessing of the bread.
Just like the two disciples, we Christians today do not mind speaking about Jesus with burning hearts even. We speak of him too with wise words that puff us up. And it is easy for us to end up showing off and feeding wildly on each other’s rumors.
But it is better for us to hear with burning hearts and understand the one who knows more than anyone else.
That is because what is crucial is to be among those who, hearing the word and understanding it, become fruitful. The Sower does not want us falling victims to the evil one that steals what is sown in the heart.
Nor does he want us to leave behind, due to some hardship, the word we already heard and received with joy. Rather, he demands lasting commitment and listening. These cannot be as passing as the flames of burning dry cogon grass. Worldly anxieties and the lure of riches do not choke true perseverance.
And we have to hear and watch our host with burning and listening hearts. We will have to give the same kind of meal, as St. Augustine says. That is to say, as Jesus welcomes us, so we ought to welcome others. And as Jesus feeds us with his body and blood, so ought we to feed others.
Yes, we should watch him closely, asking constantly, (SV.EN XI:314), “Lord, how would you act on this occasion?” We should humbly adjust our conduct to the words that at once accuse and save.
Lord, make us hear, watch, imitate and welcome you with burning hearts.
30 April 2017
3rd Sunday of Easter (A)
Acts 2, 14. 22-33; 1 Pt 1, 17-21; Lk 24, 13-35