Open heart, open eyes.
Alleluia! He is Risen!! Rejoice, Jesus is with us, He is Alive! In a nutshell this is the Easter message and the greatest truth of our faith. God became man, suffered and died and out of love rose from the dead in accordance with the sacred scriptures. Yet, how many times do we read or hear this truth and we never stop to let it really sink into our hearts and minds? How often do we allow the risen Jesus, to pass us by? The reality is that our hearts can be closed and so our eyes are blinded. Nevertheless, the Gospel this Sunday gives us some hope, our eyes can still be opened.
In the Gospel, we are told two disciples set out on their way to Emmaus talking “together about all that happened” regarding Jesus’ passion and death (Lk 24:14). Imagine their conversation, their heavy and desperate hearts trying to make sense of life without Jesus. They must have been trying to pick up the bits and pieces of their broken expectations and dreams. However, Jesus does not leave them in their ignorance and lack of understanding, he comes to them. However “something” prevents “them from recognising him” (Lk 24: 16). We are not told explicitly what this something is, instead, the scriptures invites us to reflect on our own ‘somethings’ that prevent us from recognising Jesus on our pilgrimage of life.
Even though the disciples did not recognise him at first it does not mean they are doomed to stay like that. The good news is their obscurity of mind and heart can be ‘healed’ because of their potential for openness and generosity of heart. We can easily overlook the fact that the disciples could have chosen to stay enclosed in their talk of gloom and despair between themselves without allowing Jesus into their lives. They could have kept their hearts locked up. They need not have replied to Jesus’ questions. However the very openness and love for sharing that made them disciples in the first place was still there even in their despair and confusion. Their openness to talk about their faith, even their lack of it, was an entrance for Jesus to dialogue with them bringing the disciples to an understanding of the scriptures and eventually to a recognition of himself as their Lord in the breaking of bread. The lesson here is that if we persist in our closed hearts we will remain blind but if we are willing to be open to the questions of our faith and our lives we too can be like the two disciples and come to see Jesus in our lives.
Hence, this Gospel speaks to us of the journey of faith which can only be made with an openness of heart. It teaches us that if we are willing to be open to discuss with the Lord our disillusionment and doubts, we can provide Jesus with an opening through which he can come to heal and transform us. As the disciples eyes were opened to reality, we too can journey from the seeming absence of the Lord to an intimate encounter with Him.
Gospel reflection for The Third Sunday of Easter– Year A (Luke 24:13-35)