Third Sunday of Easter
PREPARING FOR THE WORD
Before you begin take a moment to pray, saying this short prayer by St. John Chrysostom or a prayer in your own words asking the Lord to open up your heart and mind to his Word.
O Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Your word and understand and do Your will.
READING THE WORD
Lectio or reading is the first step of lectio divina. You are invited to begin by slowly and attentively reading aloud the gospel of the day by yourself or others.
Gospel Luke 24:13-35 Lectionary: 46
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.
For all of the readings for Sunday go to: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/043017.cfmâï¿½ï¿½
REFLECTING ON THE WORD
The apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 13:12, “We see in a mirror dimly, but one day we will see face to face. Now I only know in part, but one day I will know fully – even as I am fully known.”
Some days, in the confusion, pain, and disappointments of our lives, we find it hard to see. It is hard to make sense of life through our tears. “We see in a mirror dimly.”
It seems this was the case of the two men leaving Jerusalem on that first Easter!
Our gospel speaks of two disciples of Jesus who left Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was crucified, and were on their way to Emmaus. There is some debate among scholars if Emmaus was an actual town or not. If not, then it appears Luke is suggesting that these two followers of Jesus were on their way to “nowhere”.
When our hopes have been dashed and our visions destroyed we too can feel like we are going nowhere. We can truly feel lost and on our way to nowhere.
It is in this state of dimness and discouragement that Jesus appears and walks with the men. Jesus asks, “what are you talking about?” Not knowing it was Jesus, these men are amazed that the man does not know what had taken place in Jerusalem. They told him about Jesus and how he had been handed over and crucified. Moreover, they told him how some women in their group had astonished them by saying that the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb and that the women had seen a vision of angels who said He is alive. They even mentioned that some of their friends went and found it as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.
It makes me wonder how these two men could have left Jerusalem. So much was happening. So much to be discovered. Nevertheless, in their discouragement and disappointment they leave.
After listening to the men, Jesus began to teach the wonder and truth of God’s word. Beginning with Moses he shared with them everything that referred to Himself. Wow, what a Bible study that was! Yet, there eyes and hearts still did not recognize Jesus.
As they entered the village they urged Jesus to stay with them for it was late. When we invited Jesus into our lives and homes. Jesus will always enter to be with us! We are told 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.”
Jesus is alive!! Our resurrected Lord revealed himself to them in the Scriptures and the breaking of the bread! The Church, at every Mass, invites our hearts and eyes to be open to the truth of Jesus in Word and Sacrament.
Notice what happens to these formerly disheartened, weary travelers once their eyes were opened:
- They get on the same road but now they have a new direction! They are going to Jerusalem, toward the cross and toward the other disciples.
- They get on the same road but now they have a new purpose, to share the Good News of how Jesus met them on the way and was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
- They get on the same road but now they have new eyes of faith! They now believe in the resurrection and that makes all the difference.
The resurrection of Jesus truly makes all the difference. Because Jesus has Risen we can have new direction, new purpose and new faith! We can get back on the same roads of our lives: our jobs, our families, our marriages, our retirement, our parenting, and have a whole new direction of hope and life. We can have new purpose and meaning, and we can have new faith and belief in the transforming love of Christ for every detail of our lives.
Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia!
PONDERING THE WORD
In meditatio, traditionally, the second stage of lectio divina, we are invited to ponder, as Mary did, “all these things in her heart” as we listen for Jesus, the Incarnate Word to speak to us heart-to-heart. You may find the following questions helpful in doing this.
1. What prevents me from recognizing God’s presence in my life?
2. How is Jesus opening my eyes and heart to His Word and Eucharist? Do I see Jesus in the breaking of the bread?
3. What area or areas in my life need new direction, new purpose, and new faith?
PRAYING THE WORD
In oratio, the third stage of the practice of lectio divina, pondering the Word of God naturally leads to prayer. Having opened your heart to his Word, take a few moments to speak to Jesus heart-to-heart.
You may wish to conclude your time of prayer using the Collect from this Sunday’s Mass below or the Lord’s Prayer:
May your people exult for ever, O God, in renewed youthfulness of spirit, so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption, we may look forward in confident hope to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.