Gospel Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter Year A – May 4th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only is person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days’. ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.
Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.
I have met many people who found this story really helped at times when they were down – hopes gone, illness and many of the crosses of life. Like for the apostles, Jesus was not visibly present – vanished and then they knew he was raised…like us. The presence, active and loving remained. He had accompanied them in a dark journey of life.
He found them
Jesus went to them; he did not await their visit. Somehow he knew that people of his ‘set’ were in darkness and maybe despair. This is the call of the church – to be with us in prayer, community and service always, and especially for what Pope Francis calls ‘the peripheries of life’. Most of us spend some time there, and appreciate the help of love and faith.
Then they went to tell the story of how they were changed. Faith grows in sharing it. A father said – ‘in my child’s first communion, I got faith stronger.’ If we are honest and open with each other in faith, the faith of everyone grows.
Here and Now
They told their story of Jesus in the here and now. Not reminiscing on what things were once like in Galilee. Notice this week where the Lord is present in love, care, creation, an uplift of joy, prayer and the Eucharist.
Every journey of life can be an Emmaus journey where we meet the Lord. Every altar can be the altar of Emmaus, and indeed every meal can be a time of friendship, care and nourishment for body and for soul.
Donal Neary SJ