Sunday 23 April 2023 –  3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER – Encountering the Risen Lord

1st Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-23

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. For David says of him:     I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore, my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.  “My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”         

2nd Reading: 1P 1:17-21

Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold   but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb. He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, So, that your faith and hope are in God. 

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 bread. 

Encountering the Risen Lord: Jesus rose from the dead and continues to be present among his people in the world. There are two main areas where one can meet the Risen Lord in this world. One can meet the risen Lord in the Holy Scriptures. The Risen Lord makes himself known to people through the Scriptures (Luke 24:32). Then the second place where the Risen Lord can be met is in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:30). Breaking of bread means to have a meal with someone. It is breaking off pieces of a loaf of bread and share it with others. During the times of Jesus, a loaf of bread was harder than the modern bread that people eat today. It was therefore necessary to break it rather than tear it. In the church the phrase “breaking of bread” is used to refer this sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Eucharist the Risen Lord is really present. A person who is receiving the Eucharist is not only remembering what Jesus did at the Last Supper, but is receiving the Risen Lord himself. So, apart from meeting the Risen Lord in the word of God, which is proclaimed whenever the Holy Mass is celebrated, a person also meets the Risen Lord in the holy Eucharist. Receiving the Eucharist unites a person with the Risen Lord. A person becomes one with the Risen Lord such that all his or her actions proclaim that the Lord is truly alive and is with him or her. It means that one who receives the Risen Lord in the Eucharist ought to live according to the word of God. The best place to hear the word of God and receive the Risen Lord is at the Holy Mass. The Holy Mass is where one can encounter with the Risen Lord.

Prayer: Lord God may people always have the courage to encounter your Risen Son at the Holy Mass


THE LORD IS ALIVE: On the road to Emmaus, the Risen Lord Jesus appeared and revealed himself to his disciples, confirming that there is life after death (Lk. 24: 13-35). This is an assurance to us that, like the disciples, we can meet the Risen Lord, here on earth. We do so when we hear the Scriptures and when we receive the Eucharist. After encountering Christ in the Scriptures, and getting nourished at the Eucharistic table, we are energized and filled with the desire to invite others to the experience. In this urge, it is the Risen Lord reaching out to others through us. He makes our hearts “burn” while he speaks to us. Through this fire, we approach his table and invite others to come to receive him. All these happen during the Holy Mass. The Emmaus story therefore, shows us where and how to meet the Risen Lord; at Mass and through active participation.