The downcast disciples returning to Emmaus had lost all sense of purpose. The one they had pinned their hopes on had been put to death, and all that he stood for had disappeared. No more dreams or inspiring ideals… it was time to return home and shut themselves in.

Luke 24:13-35 narrates how they became aware that a “stranger” was walking with them and entered into their experience and opened their eyes.

Here we understand the meaning of Easter: the realization that Jesus Christ is alive and enters into the reality of our lives. Easter is the opening of our eyes and hearts and lives to his presence.

Unable to attend services in church, we are invited to spend time at home with Scripture. Like the disciples let us let him explain his Word to us and set our hearts on fire in our everyday existence.

Saint Eugene’s life was dedicated to explaining the Good News of salvation to those who were most in need. He and his missionaries wanted the hearts of all those who listened to burn within them. The invitation he wrote in the Rule of 1818 continues today:

Our one and only aim should be to instruct people…
not only to break the bread of the Word for them but to chew it for them as well;
in a word, to ensure that when our discourses are over,
they are not tempted to heap foolish praise on what they have not understood,
but, instead, that they go back home edified, touched, instructed, able to repeat in their own family circle what they have learned from our mouth.

At times we feel like those disciples who wanted to shut themselves into their own isolation in Emmaus. Let’s open our eyes to recognize the presence of the Risen Jesus alongside us.  Let us spend some time with his Gospel. As we break the bread of the Word, he helps us to chew it – and our hearts will burn within us.

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of Jesus with the disciples on the way to Emmaus and how he “entered into their experience and opened their eyes” in much the same way as happens for/with us when we withdraw from the everyday and go on a retreat. How the Word is presented to us, broken open for us and then what that might look like in our daily lives.

    It is how Jesus taught and teaches us with his parables as he would say that something was “… is like a person who…”. Jesus himself would repeat the words of scripture and would then say what that might look like. He broke open the Word for them, using the Word to nourish them, chewing it for them so all they had to do was to swallow it and allow it to become a part of them.

    This is how Eugene himself preached and how he taught his companions and later his sons and daughters to preach and share what they knew to be life. Is this not what this place is all about each morning? We come here to listen and reflect – hopefully so that we will be able to take it and share it with others in our own lives and ministries. Just as we have been led and fed, so we will be then able to lead and feed others.

    This has never been just about our own hearts burning within us; rather it has been how we will help to stoke the fires in the hearts of all who we meet.

    I think for a moment of the question offered by the Pre-Chapter Questions Commission: “In today’s context, what constitutes and shapes our religious identity as Missionary Oblates?” It occurs to me this morning that these words from the 1818 Rule are what help shape our identity – as Oblates and as Oblate Associates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *