An insight about “Did not our hearts burn within us?” (Luke 24:32)

April 26, 2020frjohnma

Rev. Fr. John-Mary Benedict Ntol Atep

An insight about “Did not our hearts burn within us?” (Luke 24:32)

Happy Easter! The story of the risen Lord and the disciples’ walk to Emmaus is a story with many messages and lessons. The story is a special proof of the mystery of Jesus’ resurrection. A story that offers us the connection between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Holy Mass. A story that reveals how to meet the resurrected Jesus Christ at the Holy Mass and the breaking of the Scriptures. About the Holy Mass, it gives us three steps that we can apply to encounter Jesus Christ: It begins with the Scriptures, Proclamation and Sacrament (The Holy Eucharist). More so, the readings of third Sunday of Easter, place special emphasis and insights on the longings of the human heart – “Did not our hearts burn within us?” (Luke 24:32). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not just meant to fulfil all the Old Testament prophecies about Christ, but to enable us to live out a life full of hope, manifestations and joy. In order for us to attain such, the Lord implants in us our longings/cravings for Him. The Psalms confirm our inner longings: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Ps. 42:1-2). And “God, you are my God, I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory” (Ps. 63:1-2).

The statement, “Did not our hearts burn within us” (Luke 24:32) are the words of the disciples of Jesus on their way to Emmaus and they reveal the inescapable longings that are hidden in the core of the human heart. These longings could also be understood as urges, desires or yearnings, and they are placed deep within us by God, for the purpose of persuading us into His grace and presence. Mike Bickle in his book, The seven longings of the human heart identifies seven longings of the human heart: “the longing for the assurance that we are enjoyed by God, the longing to be fascinated, the longing to be beautiful, the longing to be great, the longing for intimacy without shame, the longing to be wholehearted and passionate, and the longing to make a deep and lasting impact.” In truth, our longings are endless. They could be impulsive or compulsive when they are not identified, acknowledged and managed. Little wonder, Jesus Christ identified the wondering longings of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

In simple parlance, in the spiritual life, sexuality and spirituality summarize all our longings. Unfortunately, they are the less traveled roads in our lives. Put differently, the outlets of our urges/longings/desires are our sexuality and spirituality. So, the hearts of the Emmaus disciples that burn within them is their internal struggle to overcome uncertainties, doubts and worries. In the context of the Emmaus journey, the struggle is about their spirituality. “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Spirituality is an inner compulsion to connect with an Eternal Order that is God for us who believe in an eternal order revealed to us by Jesus Christ. For some people, it could be some other beings.

The good news is that Jesus Christ is aware of our innermost longings and we do not need to pretend about them and worse still repress them. Please, take a quick look at how He intervened about the longings of the Emmaus disciples, because they were able to open up and listen to Him, they got things right. We all have longings! Many are known to us and there are others that are yet to be identified, acknowledged and managed. I would like to draw our attention to the special place of our longings in our spiritual life and for us to use the lockdown period to identify, acknowledge and manage them. Your stand to benefit more! How? What we say and do for instance with our sexual desires and other longings tell how we believe in God and things of the Spirit. From the beginning, God created us as humans to enjoy His presence by allowing Him to divinize us. But the opposite is the case in most cases. Because we feel that some longings are for God and some are not. But God has created us in such a way that if we allow Him into our lives, His presence in us will help always not to remove our longings but to reorder them. When we deviate from the understanding above we experience disorders that call for reordering for order. God of Jesus Christ, help us through the Holy Spirit to understand our longings in life and channel them appropriately for your glory, for the edification of our neighbours and for our salvation. Amen.

Comments (19)

  • Gerard-Mary

    April 26, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks Padre. Indeed this lockdown period is a very rare opportunity to identify, acknowledge and manage our longings. I believe the world beginning from each individual will experience real change. Mother of Good Counsel, please help us to utilise this period. Amen!

    1. frjohnma

      April 26, 2020 at 8:40 pm

      Mother of Good counsel – pray for us.

  • Eby

    April 26, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Amen Amen and Amen. Happy Sunday Fr. Thanks for the reflection. Lord, open my eyes to recognize you.

    1. frjohnma

      April 26, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks be to God and I pray for three things for us: to recognize, realize and revere God

  • Kelechi

    April 26, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    May our hearts be fired up for God at all times.

    Thank you, Father.

    1. frjohnma

      April 26, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks dear and God bless you. Amen

  • Lucy

    April 26, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Amen. Happy Sunday. Thank you Fr. for this wonderful reflection. May God bless you through Christ our Lord, Amen.

    1. frjohnma

      April 26, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks for your prayerful comment and compliment. God bless you!

  • Juliana-Mary Ukeje

    April 26, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Thank you Father for the reflection on today’s Gospel. It surely calls for greater appreciation and reverence for our Lord in the blessed Eucharist. We should indeed not allow the present challenges arising from the lockdown to lessen our fervour and active participation via the current available means, ie TV or the internet. May God continue to grant us the grace and above all show us mercy and bring this covid19 pandemic to an end soon. And may our Lady of the Blessed Eucharist continue to intercede for us.

    1. Fr John-Mary Atep

      April 26, 2020 at 10:25 pm

      Wonderful gift to us this Holy Day of the Lord. The Eucharist is a special gift to help us enjoy the presence and graces of God now and in eternity. So, we need to cultivate a longing for the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist. God bless you for us always. Amen

    2. frjohnma

      April 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Your comments are always insightful and helpful.

  • Louis Mathias

    April 26, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Very deep reflection Fr!
    May God help us to always long for Him like the deer that yearns for running stream, through Christ Our Lord Amen

    1. frjohnma

      April 27, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Fr. God bless you

  • Sinulo

    April 27, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Fr. God bless you abundantly for feeding our souls without relenting. May God Almighty help us in our daily struggles to be nearer Him…Amen

    1. frjohnma

      April 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      A very deep words. I appreciate

  • AndyMarie

    April 28, 2020 at 6:57 am

    May our hearts continue to burn as we long for thee Lord. Our hearts are restless o Lord until we find hope in thee. Amen

    1. frjohnma

      April 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks in a million ways

  • Ngunan

    May 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Hmmm Fr, this is profound. Thank you for this teaching. Spot on.

    1. frjohnma

      May 4, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      Waooooooo. Thanks be to God

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