Like the Hearts of the Emmaus Disciples… (Reflection for April 3rd)

Apr 3, 2024

by Fr. Michael Graham, SJ, ISP Board of Directors

reflecting on the Gospel reading for April 3 – Luke 24:13-35 

Like the hearts of the Emmaus disciples, our hearts are complicated places, filled with hopes and dreams and desires.  Some of those are close to the surface and we know them well—hopes for help here or dreams for peace there or desires for something else, somewhere else. 

But beneath these are the deeper depths of our hearts—hopes beyond our hopes, dreams within our dreams, desires beneath our desires.  There’s a depth within us all, even though we catch sight of it only briefly and from time to time, especially at those moments we wouldn’t change for a thing, when we are exactly who we should be, doing exactly what we should be doing, with exactly the people we should be doing it with.  What is going on at “Emmaus moments” like these, moments when “our hearts burn within us”?

Two things, I think.

First, the deepest part of ourselves calls out somewhere, the deepest mystery that is within us, the one that looks out of our own eyes at us when we gaze deeply into them in a mirror.  The mystery within us that we will never in our entire lives exhaust.

And at that moment where that which is deepest within us calls out, something out there—the Mystery above us and beyond us—answers back.  The Mystery that is always for us calls us and claims us, reminding us who and Whose we are.  And reminds us that this Maker of our human heart and these human hearts of ours that He has made have a future together that is eternal.

All roads are Emmaus roads—Easter roads!—when you look at them just right.

Reflection Questions: Have you experienced such moments of encountering Mystery on an “Emmaus road”? How have you felt your “heart burn within” in such an encounter?

Fr. Graham is a Jesuit priest and ISP Board member and served as president of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio for over 20 years.