Octave of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 3:1-10.
Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.
Gospel: Lk 24:13-35
That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “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?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, 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. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
THE JOURNEY TO CONVERSION: All who were following Jesus had hoped that, He was the one to save the world. But they soon lost their faith after His death. They then started going back to their places. Today we see these two friends going to Emmaus full of fear. Jesus appears and journeys with them. Their eyes are closed and they cannot recognise Jesus. Jesus uses the Bible to illumine them on God’s plan of salvation. Then later, shares the meal with them. It is at the meal that their eyes are opened, and they immediately go back to Jerusalem having all courage to proclaim the Risen Lord. Our lives are often filled with fear and anxieties following lack of knowledge of Christ. When we spend time with Jesus, our eyes open, we know Jesus and courage fills us. Let us turn away from our sinful life and go back to Jerusalem to proclaim the Good News.
Prayer: Jesus, enlighten my heart and mind to believe in your resurrection.
SHATTERED DREAMS ARE REVIVED: Those who had followed Jesus while he exercised his ministry had great hopes and dreams. With his crucifixion all these hopes and dreams were shattered. They were devastated. They had only one alternative: to go back to their former lives. The Risen Lord does not abandon his friends to sink into their disappointments. He joins them as a journey companion. He is too ordinary to be recognized by the disciples who are sunken in the grave of their shattered hope. Their hope is dead and has been buried. Jesus makes sense of all that had happened. They will later on remember that their hearts were burning as he explained them the scriptures. The meaning of life became clear, darkness became light and their hopes were revived. That is resurrection. They recognized him in the breaking of bread in an ordinary meal in their ordinary house. We have many opportunities to encounter the Risen Lord. Thanks to him who never abandons us in the graves of our shattered hopes. Whoever has encountered the risen will contribute to the raising up of those who are paralyzed. Peter and John do it in the name of Jesus the Nazarene.
THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Today’s gospel is one of the most powerful passages in the New Testament – the narrative is unique to the Gospel of Luke, though it is mentioned in Mk 16:12. It has the structure of the Catholic Mass, and it tells us that in every Eucharistic celebration we have the possibility to experience the Risen Christ. Eucharistic celebration has four parts which are traceable in the story of the walk to Emmaus. (1) Introductory Rite (Lk 24:13-24): Jesus joins them and listens to their traumatic story; (2) Liturgy of the Word (Lk 24:25-27): Jesus invites them to find meaning in the messiness of their lives in the light of the Word of God; (3) Liturgy of the Eucharist (Lk 24:28-31): The two disciples experience Jesus alive in the breaking of the bread; (4) Concluding Rite (Lk 24:32-35): They go back to where they came from and share the hope of the resurrection. Do we appreciate the Eucharistic celebration?