Third Sunday of Easter, Year A

Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 16:1-2, 5-11; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35

First Reading: After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter speaks to all who are in Jerusalem, particularly the Jewish people who were there for the feast. He tells them that Jesus was commended to them by God, yet he was crucified and died. God raised him up, as foretold by David.

Psalm 16: As we proclaim the psalm today, we will recall Peter’s use of this psalm in his discourse (end of today’s first reading).

Second Reading: Those who commit themselves to living faith are to conduct themselves with reverence, recognizing and responding to the sacrificial and saving act of Christ, the unblemished lamb.

Gospel: Today’s Gospel passage reminds us of the encounter of the disciples on the road with Jesus whom they do not recognize. Yet the narrative rings true for us, as it would have for its first hearers. Jesus reassures them, explains the Scriptures they would have known since childhood, and joins them for supper, only to be made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Reflection: In today’s Gospel, the disciples on the road to Emmaus were rehashing mere facts about the One they thought would “redeem Israel.” Blinded by their own disappointment, they missed the deeper insight. They could not even accept what some women had reported: “that he was alive.”

When Jesus joins the two disciples, they do not recognize him. After they explain to their unknown fellow traveler why they are so dejected, Jesus rebuilds their hope.

While teaching and comforting the disciples, Jesus “interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.” Jesus once again takes on the role of the catechist! He begins with Moses and shows how what was taught by the prophets referred to him, even though there was no mention that the Redeemer was to suffer as he did. Though they were spellbound by the Stranger’s interpreting for “them what referred to him in all the Scriptures,” they still lacked insight.

Later when they gather at table, Jesus says the blessing and breaks and shares the bread with the disciples. Upon seeing this, they finally understand, and with great joy, just who he is. Shortly after this moment he is gone, but only physically. He is never truly gone from them. This is true for us, as well. When we take and share the blessed bread at Mass, Jesus is present just as he was on the road to Emmaus, at the table with the discouraged disciples. We know this because Jesus told us this. Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is not just symbolic. Our Catholic beliefs tell us that Christ is here with us as truly and substantially as he was with those he catechized in Emmaus.

The story of Emmaus is the story of all disciples – the life of the between-times. Jesus is still the divine stranger in our midst.

Question for reflection: Do I recognize the risen Christ in my daily discipleship?

Copyright © 2017, Scott W. Eakins. All Rights Reserved.

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