Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER: WERE NOT OUR HEARTS BURNING WITHIN US

Lk 24: 13-35

JESUS HAD AN inner circle of Apostles which was called “The Twelve.” But He also had a number of followers who were simply called disciples. Two of these, Cleopas and his companion, journeyed with the risen Christ along the road to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 
 
As the gospel narrates, the two disciples were disappointed, downhearted, and sad because of the death of Jesus. They had a lot to expect from Jesus for he was the hope of the Jews. They expected Jesus to redeem Israel. But Jesus died. The hope was simply gone. After his resurrection, Christ wanted to comfort his disciples and bring them to true faith in him and called them to be his witnesses. But as the three walked along, the disciples did not recognize Him. They thought he was just an ordinary Jewish traveler who was ignorant of what had happened to Jesus.
 
However, there are two important acts that the risen Christ did which made the disciples realize that the person whom they were talking was Jesus or Christ. Let us try to reflect on these two actions, because these are of great import to our spiritual life and these two actions are perpetuated in the celebration of the holy Eucharist. 
 
Firstly, Christ quoted and explained the Scriptures. Then He told the two disciples, “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, later on, the two disciples realized, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” The attitude of the disciples in relation to the word of God is something we should emulate. Often, when we listen to the Word of God, there seems to be no impact on us because it appears to be not appealing. 
 
But we have to realize that the Word of God is extremely beautiful. For some people, they cannot live without it because it is their source of strength and inspiration. We need to have passion for listening to it or reading it. We need to develop an attitude like that of the two disciples. Each time we hear the word of God, our hearts should be burning within us. The celebration of the holy Eucharist is an occasion for us to hear the Word of God. For our true enrichment, we try to develop this passion for listening to God’s Word.
 
Secondly, Christ broke the bread. When the risen Christ stayed with the two disciples, it happened that, “while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” There and then, the two disciples opened their eyes and realized that the person they were with was the Jesus of Nazareth. They realized this continuity: the Jesus of Nazareth is now risen, and he is the Christ. The action at table was very powerful. At an instant, they were able to recognize Jesus or Christ. 
 
In the celebration of the holy Eucharist, we should also focus our attention on the part of the “consecration.” In this part of the mass, the priest remembers these actions of Jesus: taking of the bread, blessing, breaking and sharing. It is also in this moment that the gifts of bread and wine are transformed or “changed substantially” into the body and blood of Christ. Therefore, we should be more attentive to this part of the celebration. We should also experience that "power" that the two disciples experienced when Christ broke the bread.
 
The liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist are two important parts of the holy Mass. God is present in the Word and Christ is “really present” in and through his body and blood that we all partake of. Recognition or recognizing the presence of Christ in the holy Mass is very important. Ultimately, recognition gives meaning to the Eucharistic celebration. If we have this “recognition,” then we always look forward to every celebration of the holy Eucharist. 
 

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