We can encounter God at any time of the day. He meets us in any circumstances. Unexpectedly sometimes, we feel and are aware of His presence because we are attuned and in contact with Him at various moments and places, in creation and with people. He always takes the initiative to meet and surprise us. Within such an encounter we deeply feel joy because He is there for and with us. We can see this in the Gospel narratives, after the death of Jesus, especially in the story of the two disciples of Christ journeying to a small village called Emmaus. Following on from Thursday’s reflection on this particular encounter, let us pause awhile once more to even more deeply delve into this momentous occurrence:
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. (Luke 24:13)
Maybe they wanted to escape from what had happened in Jerusalem, about the death of Jesus. This is also what we do to be away from any situations that hurt us so deeply, such as when we feel so much pain and sadness in our heart when someone close to us leaves us permanently or has passed away. Our heart is broken into bits and pieces. We feel the loneliness and emptiness because we miss that person and the good deeds they have done. Our world is quiet and in mourning – they are no longer here. Normally in this situation, then, we want to escape from that sad reality.
Likewise, the two disciples left Jerusalem and went on their way to another place. Their faith was shattered into pieces and their hearts felt so hopeless. Yet, we soon see that God took the initiative to meet them and remind them about telling the Scriptures, the Good News. These two were attentive and entertained by Jesus’ stories which helped them to restore their hopelessness into a firm faith once more. The pain in their hearts was alleviated. Suddenly they recognized Jesus’ presence! He was with them all along, the Divine One who had narrated the Scriptures. They had invited Him for a meal with them and they became aware of Him at the breaking of the bread. Their hearts were on fire upon meeting with Jesus. Their sadness turned into joy.
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24: 31)
When Jesus suddently disappeared from their view, the two disciples immediately decided to return to Jerusalem to be together with the rest of their companions and share the joy of the Good News.
There are times when we are aware of and feel His presence clearly. In these moments we are in God’s grace. This experience of God’s presence comes quickly like a gentle air passing by and it disappears just as quickly in the blink of an eye. Then, in our heart, is lit the burning fire of His love and the deep joy we feel within is so sudden and significant.
They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking to us on the road, while He was opening the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:31-32)
This can happen to all of us in real life. These good memories of God’s presence linger in our heart and continue burning with His love, that great love He has for us always. With His presence there is no room for hatred in our heart, for doing bad things towards others because what is in our heart is goodness, joy, peace, praise and the love of God.
God continuously and untiringly meets us in our day to day journey because He wants us to be reminded of how much He cares and loves us unconditionally. Remembering these joyful experiences of Divine Love in our heart is almost akin to those memorable events or persons giving us inspiration, affection and positive vibes when we spend quality time for and with them. When we have these joyful and beautiful experiences, time seems to fly so quickly, and we do not want that moment to end because it creates a positive energy around and within us in our life. When a very significant person whom we love is no longer present, everything seems to collapse and shut down for a while. After a time we recover from these painful moments as our heart comes to realise that the time has come to make a new beginning, that there is something beyond and greater than our sufferings and problems. Thinking about that journey of the two disciples on that road to Emmaus, we also realise that even though we experience many and different crossroads, we, too, pass through those Emmaus moments in our life. Along the way, God meets us and journeys with us – and at the same time He is ahead of us, guiding us to the place He has destined for us. God’s intervention and presence helps us to regain our strength to move on and continue our journey with faith. The joy in our heart and the many positive things that happen in our life are clear indications of God’s presence. Our beloved God who is our light, illuminating our life for others to see that God is here is among us for all time.
Your love, Lord
Keeps my heart burning
With Your love.
Help me to see You face to face,
With the eyes of faith.
Let the words of my mouth
Utter a constant praising of Your Name.
Let me hear Your voice
The sweet sounding daily inspirations of doing good.
All of these things are done by Your love
On the Emmaus road of my life.