THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
I would like to offer a reflection on my favorite resurrection story. I will reflect on the story, the fruit of my own imagination; but you need to engage your own. I recommend first reading the Scripture itself (Luke 24:13-35. Click here for all of today’s Mass readings). The reading of the actual words of Scripture is a powerful source of grace.
(Please note: When I use the actual words from Scripture, they appear in bold type; the narrative appears in regular type and when I offer comments about the story, these appear in italics.)
“That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples, one by the name of Cleopas, were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus.”
They were sad and downcast, as they were discussing the events in Jerusalem over the previous three days.
Think about how all of Jesus’ disciples must have felt during the interim between Good Friday afternoon and whenever they were able to fully grasp that Jesus had risen. Think of a time when you felt distraught and discouraged.)
Then Jesus invited himself along and they began to converse with him as they walked. Note that they were walking side by side, so they were not looking at him directly.
They do not recognize him, and began telling Jesus about Jesus. “. . . a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.”
(Why don’t they recognize him? Are they just ruminating over depressing events?) They told him, “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.”
(Feel the depth of their disappointment and anguish ~ and fear; they must have been heartsick; the brother whom they loved had died. What kept them from a sense of hope?)
They knew that women in their company had gone to the tomb early that morning and found the tomb empty, but had seen a “vision of angels who announced that he was alive.”
Then Jesus interjected, “Oh how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.”
(What did he tell them that enabled them to see and act differently? What change was taking place in them?)
When they reached their village, they pressed him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
(How do you think the disciples were feeling at this point? Had a change or transformation occurred in them?)
“So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was at table. . .”
. . .Now they could see him directly, not along side of them, but across from them. . .
“. . .He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and THEY RECOGNIZED HIM, but he vanished from their sight.
A veil had covered their eyes, but now their eyes were opened and they recognized him—in the breaking of bread.”
And then they returned to the Eleven in the Upper Room and “recounted what had taken place along the way and how [Jesus] was made known to them in the breaking of bread.”
There was victory in their hearts!
Now for a couple of concluding observations ~ especially for those of you who are Catholics or who appreciate the Holy Eucharist . . . .
Love of the holy Eucharist: Down through the centuries the church has recognized the Lord—has recognized itself—in the breaking of bread. This prompts a deep and abiding love for participating in the holy Eucharist.
(What kinds of varied feelings do you have when you celebrate the Eucharist? What could deepen your love of the gathering, listening, sharing, singing that is the holy Eucharist?
(Eucharist is a verb and a noun!)
And then this: The disciples realized “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Cleopas and his friend came very, very close to Jesus in their conversation on the way. It was an intimate moment they would always remember.
I can remember a good number of holy (that is, open and honest) conversations that changed my life and have given me the nourishment to grow and move on.
(Who are the people in your life who nourish and encourage you in conversation.
Whom do you so nourish?)
we praise you and thank you for sharing with us
in every place and for all time
the gift of your sacred body and blood.
May we always cherish such a wonderful gift
and never take it for granted.
To You be all glory and honor
with the Father and the Spirit,
now and forever. Amen. Alleluia!
And now to complete your experience for today, here’s the song One Bread, One Body together with a moving video. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.