3rd Sunday of Easter 2023

Acts 2:14, 22-23    1 Peter 1:17-21   Luke 24:13-35

Road to EmmausDuring Eastertime the Gospel readings for our Sunday liturgies are from Saint John’s Gospel. This Sunday, the 3rd of Easter, we read from the Gospel of Saint Luke.  Saint John was very much a ‘witness’ to the events around the Resurrection and he, being the ‘Theologian’ of the evangelists, helps us to understand how Jesus revealed Himself to the Apostles as the Glorified and Risen Lord. Saint Luke, who is known as the ‘Portrait Painter’ of the Evangelists, brings the events of this first Easter time down to the level of the ordinary disciples of that time – and indeed, to the disciples of our time! Perhaps Saint Luke is portraying what a typical disciple is like. As we journey along the path of discipleship we experience many of the emotions and sentiments of early followers of the Lord.  Surely we can see ourselves in the shoes of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  These two, (Cleopas and perhaps, his wife) are downhearted and confused and even doubting themselves for having been taken-in.  They are talking together, sharing their fears, and disappointments, they are slow to notice whatever else is going on around them.  It is difficult to concentrate, even on the teaching that is going on from this ‘stranger’ who has joined them. There is something very familiar to all of us going on here.  So often we lose or miss the messages and the lessons that are given us because we are caught up in our own worries and fears.  We need to remind ourselves of how precious is the word of God offered to us in our liturgies and our reading of the Sacred Scriptures.

We need to be on the look-out for the miracles and actions of the Lord in our daily living.

The great Eucharistic theme dominates Saint Luke’s Gospel.  Luke is always writing about food, meals and eating!  In fact, food or meals are mentioned in every chapter of his Gospel.  For Luke the greatest sign of community is the sharing of food or a meal. For the religious leaders of the day the great scandal was that Jesus sat at table with sinners.  ‘The Breaking of Bread’ was the name given to the celebration of the Eucharist.  When Jesus broke bread with his disciples at the Last Supper it was the highpoint of his relationship with them, it made a great and lasting impression on them.  It was not just another ritual or something commonplace.  The re-enacting of this ‘breaking of bread’ would assure them of His constant and everlasting presence among them.  We must never let the ‘Breaking of Bread’, our Eucharistic celebration, become a mere ritual or so familiar that we take it ‘for granted’!

The final act of every Eucharistic meal is the dismissal; ‘Go in peace!’  As we go to bear witness to what we have received might we be thinking “Did not our hearts burn with us as He talked to us” and broke bread with us. We have experienced the Risen Lord, we have eaten at his table, we have had our sins forgiven and we have had the Scriptures opened to us. Have we any option but to go and witness to it?