Last Sunday, we heard the third Resurrection account for this Easter season from Luke 24:13-25, famously known as The Road to Emmaus. Out of the many scriptures that I love to read, this is one of my all-time favorites. It was the scripture verse that first led me into studying the scriptures in parish bible studies and what eventually led me to study Theology and the Holy Scriptures at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
My love for this scripture verse became so prominent in my life after graduate school that when I use to teach Introduction to Revelation (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition) to high school students, I would begin all my classes at the start of the year by reading this scripture passage. I use to tell my students that the core of theology lies within the Sacred Scripture. This is something they must learn to properly study theology because the Church knows it to be true too. The Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Revelation – Dei Verbum says in paragraph 24 – “Sacred Scripture is the soul of theology.” Sacred Scripture is what gives life to all theology.
No matter where you are when it comes to reading the Scriptures, starting, or an extensive studier, this passage is filled with passion and love for the Scriptures like no passage in the Canon. I believe this to be the case because we read how Our Lord explained the Holy Scriptures to two of his disciples on the very day of his Resurrection.
In verses, 25-27, Our Lord speaks of the prophets. Although Luke does not share with us what prophets the Lord speaks of, we should understand that all the prophets in some way spoke of the coming of the Messiah. The major prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel speak about a suffering servant that would bring a new and everlasting covenant and re-establish the Davidic Kingdom (read Isaiah 53, 55:1-5; Jeremiah 31:31-34 [only place in the Old Testament we read the words – new covenant]; and Ezekiel 37:24-28).
Not only did Jesus explain the prophets but “beginning with Moses”, He explained to them the Law. Our Lord as we know did not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). He is the fulfillment of the Old Mosaic Law, which is transcended with the New Law of Love.
After Jesus disappears from their sight (now present within the Holy Eucharist), the disciples ask an important question in Luke 15:32 – “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” I have always imagined the two disciples grabbing the left side of their chest while sitting there in awe trying to fathom the idea that Jesus was with them. “Did not our hearts burn” – what a question! That burning sensation comes only from hearing the Scriptures from the Word Incarnate. A burning fire that would lead the Church for centuries to come.
As faithful Catholics, when we read the Scriptures today, we must allow Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, to penetrate our hearts and allow Him to ignite a fire that will burn deep in our hearts for the Word of God. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you with reason and intellect when studying the Scriptures. It is in the sacred text where you will come to find Our Lord present in the very Word itself, in both the Old and New Testaments.
As Catholics, we cannot be afraid to study the Holy Scripture. It was our Church – the Catholic Church, that canonized the books of the Bible. We are the Scripture Church! Memorize the words of St. Jerome and you will never feel the same way about Jesus and the Scriptures again. St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Simply put, if you don’t know the Scriptures, then you don’t know Christ.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini, “…Jesus on the road to Emmaus represents, in some sense, the model of a catechesis centered on “the explanation of the Scriptures,” an explanation which Christ alone can give (cf. Lk 24:27-28), as he shows that they are fulfilled in his person…Catechetical work always entails approaching Scripture in faith and in the Church’s Tradition…Catechesis should communicate in a lively way the history of salvation and the content of the Church’s faith…”
I encourage you to study and pray with the scriptures. Allow the Word Incarnate to penetrate your heart for soon you will ask the question – did not our hearts burn within us?