Lectio Divina: Third Sunday of Easter - Cycle A

on 20 Apr, 2023
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Caracas (Venezuela), Sr. Nícida Díaz Leal, April 23, 2023.- “When the heart burns, the feet walk”.

GOSPEL

Luke 24,13-35. The disciples of Emmaus

Two of them, on that very day, were going to a little town named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all those things which had taken place. And while they were talking and questioning together, Jesus himself came near and went with them. But their eyes were not open that they might have knowledge of him. And he said to them, what are you talking about together while you go?

Then stopping, and looking sadly at him, one of them, named Cleopas, said to him, are you the only man living in Jerusalem who has not had news of the things which have taken place there at this time? And he said to them, What things? they said, the things to do with Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, great in his acts and his words, before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers gave him up to be put to death on the cross. But we were hoping that he would be the Saviour of Israel. In addition to all this, he has now let three days go by from the time when these things took place; and certain women among us gave us cause for wonder, for they went early to the place where his body had been put, and it was not there; then they came saying that they had seen a vision of angels who said that he was living. Some of those who were with us went to the place, and saw that it was as the women had said, but him they did not see.

He said, O foolish men! how slow you are to give belief to what the prophets have said. Was it not necessary for the Christ to go through these things, and to come into his glory? He made clear to them all the things in the Writings, from Moses and from all the prophets, which had to do with himself.

They came near the town to which they were going, and he seemed as if he was going on. But they kept him back, saying, do not go, for the evening is near, the day is almost gone. And he went in with them. And when he was seated with them at the table, he took the bread, and said words of blessing and, making division of it, he gave it to them.

Then their eyes were open, and they had knowledge of him, but he went from their view. They said to one another, were not our hearts burning in us while he was talking to us on the way, making clear to us the holy Writings?

And that very hour they got up and went back to Jerusalem, where the eleven and the others had come together. And they said to them, The Lord has truly come back to life again, and Simon has seen him. They gave an account of the things which had taken place on the way, and how, when he gave them bread, they had knowledge of him.

STUDY OF THE TEXT

"While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself approached them and walked by their side" (V15). Jesus takes the initiative to walk with two brothers who were talking about everything that had happened, they shared their reality, their experience of faith, their frustrated dreams, their disappointments, and their bewilderments; They talked and discussed the event of Jesus' death and the end of their dreams.

We stop at three verbs that help us in this reflection: listen, discern, and set out on the journey.

Listen: "While they were talking and arguing, Jesus himself approached them and walked by their side" (V15), he asks them about their conversation "What are you arguing about on the way?" (V17) The dialogue is full of disappointment and frustration: “We expected that he would be the one to liberate Israel; but with all these things, we have been three days since this happened” (V21). A feeling of discouragement moves the conscience of these two disciples.

If the heart does not burn, the feet do not advance. As long as the disciples' hearts did not begin to burn, they walked but did not advance. The road became difficult, and the march was slow, discouragement set the pace of the journey. When the heart does not burn, everything smells of disappointment, frustration, and death; bewilderment seizes the heart and hope vanishes.
Jesus listens to them. It is patient listening.
Listen with the ears of the heart. Listening "is the first gesture of charity" (Pope Francis).

Discern: The question is enough to start the restlessness of the heart. "What are you discussing on the way?" (V17). Jesus uses the method of questioning to make his disciples grow. With the question, he takes them out of their self-referentiality to put the essentials of life in the center. The question disarms them and makes them protagonists of an open dialogue.

Dialogue opens the way to discernment. 'O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets said! And he explained to them what was about him in all the scriptures.” (V 25.27).
Discern helps to discover God's passage through our life and also his will. When we discern his Word we are certain that he shows us the way and we learn to listen with our hearts and to walk at the rhythm of his Spirit.

Set out on the journey: from listening and discernment, the heart was opening the way to a new experience, they came out of their self-referentiality, and their heart was empowered for the Lord. “Stay with us, because it is evening and the day has already declined” (V 29b); Jesus made their hearts burn, and helped them see from God's perspective.

And the heart began to burn and the feet to walk. “Did not our hearts burn within us when he spoke to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (V32) From here, they also set out to help their brothers and sisters in the community from a new experience: "And, getting up at once, they returned to Jerusalem" (V33). It is that when the heart burns the feet advance to announce the novelty of God in our lives.

The Emmaus disciples had abandoned the community; disenchantment and frustration were stronger, but they were men of faith, and God surprised them by taking the initiative, He returned them to the community with a new experience "and they told what had happened on the way and how they had met him when they left the bread” (V35).

MEDITATION

Let our hearts burn in silence to discover the urgency of unlearning the hustle and bustle of life, the immediacy of our haste, and, learning the wisdom of pausing, stopping along the way to listen to what is happening in our Congregation, in the life of each brother/sister, in the mission, in the Church, in our town. How many of our brothers and sisters walk around disenchanted, frustrated, without dreams, and hopeless? In this reality, someone like Jesus must take the initiative, to walk alongside them, to encourage Hope, to make the heart burn.

“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others. Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world" (LS 229.231).

Celebrating and sharing the bread will be the synthesis of our experience of faith lived and shared in the community of sisters and brothers; it will be our way of being and being in everyday life to know and announce the joy of having met Jesus Christ.

We are grateful for the wisdom of Marie Poussepin. She let her heart burn with the Word of God and her feet moved forward, to take the pass from Dourdan to Sainville. There she welcomed Life and accompanied it with gestures of Charity; she quenched his hunger and thirst, clothed him, visited him; and she enlarged her tent to be with Him and share the bread.

Now we ask ourselves:
What is my disappointment, my frustration, my pain? Where are my dreams and hopes? Do I let my heart burn for the things of God, for his Word?
Do I freely give of my time to listen to each sister/brother in their situation?

Deepen this text… letting it “sound”.

PRAYER

Lord, teach us to discover you on the community path and understand that the strength of the community is born from the mystique of an encounter, where listening to you and our brothers and sisters is the spirit that makes our hearts burn, so that our feet advance. "Do not let us advance if You do not march before us" (Dt 31, 8), stay by our side Lord!

CONTEMPLATION

Stay in silence, letting the text read fill your heart.

Let your heart speak with God, speak freely and spontaneously, as a friend speaks to his friend: Here I am, Lord, in obedience of love and faith; attracted by You to this meeting, thank you for being here with me in the intimacy of my heart. I want my heart to burn and my feet to advance for You.

What is God trying to tell me with all this? Be silent so that you can feel what God wants to communicate to you; much more important than what you tell him, is what He wants to tell you.