Tuesday, April 25, 2017

3rd Sunday of Easter

Easter is about revelation!  On Easter Sunday we revealed that the tomb was found empty.  Last week Jesus revealed himself to the Apostles in the upper room, reminding us that “Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe.”  This Third Sunday of Easter, Jesus is revealed through the breaking of the Bread.

Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

In our first reading from Acts of the Apostles we have Peter, discovering his voice and standing before all of Jerusalem giving witness about who Jesus was and what happened there.  It’s both a reminder to those present who also witnessed these events, and a much necessary explanation for those who (like us) were not there (especially Luke’s primarily Gentile audience).  The heart of Peter’s message reminds us that this messiah was killed by his own people, but through that act, as prophesied by their greatest king, David, has been raised by God, and sends his Holy Spirit.  Our Psalm follows through on this theme of prophecy and redemption as we sing, “Lord, you will show us the path of life.”

Our second reading continues our study of 1st Peter.  Here we are reminded that we must conduct our lives with reverence, even outside of the Christian community.  We have been humbled by what Christ did for us, and our actions need to reflect that great gift.  All our actions must be representative of how we want to be seen by the Father.

Our Gospel, in a story unique to Luke, is one of most beloved of the resurrection stories… Jesus’ appearance to Cleopas and another disciple as they were traveling to the town of Emmaus.  These two disciples, like many others who came to follow Jesus, are now lost and bewildered after having been witness to his passion and death.  They thought they had found their deliverer only to have those hopes dashed on a cross.  Jesus joins these men on the road, although they do not recognize him, and they talk about the events they just experienced.  During their journey Jesus reveals to them those prophesies in scripture that foretold of the Messiah.  When they reach Emmaus, the men ask Jesus to join them for a meal, during which Jesus says the blessing and breaks bread with them.  Through that action, at that moment, they see Jesus for who he is.  Once they recognize Jesus, he vanishes from their sight, and having been astonished at what they experienced, rush back to Jerusalem to recount their experience to the Apostles (who themselves have just experienced a visit with the risen Jesus).

Final thoughts:
In our Gospel Jesus was revealed through the breaking of the bread.  This is what our Mass is all about.  That by gathering together, sharing our story, and breaking the bread, that Jesus is revealed to us.  His body.  His blood.  Given freely for our redemption and salvation.  The thrill that Cleopas and his friend felt which caused them to race back to Jerusalem is the thrill we are meant to feel after every celebration of the Mass.  We have met Jesus in the breaking of the bread.  An ordinary act that reveals the extraordinary.  Yet all too often, as we attend Mass week after week, that extraordinary miracle seems, well, less so.  Some might even say, “ordinary”… even “boring..”  This is why we need the season of Easter… to remind ourselves that this is anything but ordinary… anything but boring.  During Easter the world around us springs with new life, serving as a reminder that this new life is also within us, through Christ our Lord.

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