Mission Society of the Philippines


3rd Sunday of Easter Year A

Third Sunday of Easter (A) Lk 24: 13 -35

In the First Reading, Peter, together with the Eleven spoke boldly to the Jews that God works through Jesus in the many signs, miracles and wonders, and deeds in his ministry. The Jews crucified him on the cross, but God raised him from the dead, entered his glory and sits at the right side of God. Peter spoke of Jesus that David in his capacity as a prophet prophesied about Jesus, as a descendant of David. One who will inherit the throne of King David.

In the Gospel, Jesus was the unknown stranger to the two disciples. Yet he explained and interpreted the scriptures of what was written on the suffering, death and the rising from the dead of the messiah. (There is a famous line from St. Jerome that says, “Ignorance of the Sacred Scripture is ignorance of Christ” This saint was born 347 A.D. in what is now part of Croatia. He died in 420 AD in Bethlehem. He is being honoured as Hermit and Doctor of the Church and translated the Greek Bible into Latin which is called Vulgate in the Nativity Cave in Bethlehem.)

Again, in the Gospel today, we continue with the appearances account of the risen Lord to his apostles. This time he appears to the two disciples. One is named Cleophas, and the other unknown. The two were walking to a village named Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem. They appeared downcast and hurting as the they were conversing of the “things that had happened in Jerusalem these past few days concerning the Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet, mighty in words and deeds, how the religious authorities arrested and crucified him and many had hoped that he will set free Israel from foreign rule. What is disturbing is the report of the women that early morning after the Sabbath, they went to see the tomb of Jesus and found it empty and saw the angel and telling them that Jesus has been risen. Some people verified the report of the women by coming to the tomb and found just the women had said.”

Jesus as a stranger joined them but was not recognized by the two disciples. He inquired casually what they were discussing while they were walking. There was exchange of communication on what had happened in Jerusalem a few days ago. Jesus seemed not to know about those things and the two told Jesus what had happened. Jesus called the two foolish, dull, and slow to believe. He shed lights, explained to them what was written on the scripture about the suffering, death and rising of the Messiah from death. He mentioned the books of Moses, the Prophets, writing about the Messiah, the Christ. They were nearing Emmaus and it looks like that Jesus is keen on going farther and the two invited him to have meal with them. At table, Jesus’ action on the meal of taking the bread and blessed it and give it to them, reminded them of what Jesus did in the Last Supper and then the two recognised who this stranger was and disappear at their sight.

Immediately, they set out back to Jerusalem and the Eleven and their companions told them their story of recognising Jesus after the breaking of the bread. The two disciples were told that the risen Jesus has appeared to Simon. The risen Christ, though we cannot see him, nor recognize him, was a stranger who wanted us to have a listening ear to his words. He is very much alive, and present in the Scriptures and Gospels. The words that Jesus spoke in the Bible heal and comfort the person who encounter Him. In the sadness and pain of the two disciples that left Jerusalem and headed to Emmaus, Jesus recognized their need for healing and comfort, of their disillusionment that the expected Messiah failed their expectations, that he was the one to redeem Israel. The encounter of the two disciples of the stranger on the way to Emmaus made them witnesses that were added to the many witnesses of the risen Christ. Running away from Jerusalem is not the way to abandon Jesus of his seeming failure but to encounter the risen Christ in our life‘s journey. The encounter of the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus made a lasting impression on the life of the two disciples as witnesses of the risen Christ.

To experience the risen Lord is to read, get acquainted with Scriptures, the Bible to deepen our faith. As what the two disciples felt, “burning in their heart” as Jesus explained to them what was written about the messiah in the scriptures, of his suffering, death and resurrection starting from the book of Moses and the Prophets. Here in this story, it described the structure of our Holy Mass. Reading the Scripture takes the place of the Liturgy of the Word and the breaking of the bread as the part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Protestant accused us, Catholics, of putting the importance of the Mass over the Scriptures. The Mass is made to celebrate the word of God, in the words of men and women in the first part of the mass celebration. It is followed by the explanation, homily of the priest to clarify the meaning of the readings.

Brothers and Sisters let us make it a habit of reading the scripture in our lives so that the words of God can change us and bear fruits, especially, in our relationship with one another.

Fr. Jose Estaniel, MSP

Binan, Laguna

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