For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/043017.cfm
Our Gospel reading for the Third Sunday of the season of Easter is the familiar and beautiful story of two of Jesus’ disciples encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. We are told that these disciples were on their way to Emmaus “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.” As they walked along, Jesus “interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.” As they approached the village Jesus gave the impression that he was going further, but they urged him: “Stay with us……” Jesus then ate with them and as he took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, “their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.” They then 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.” Later, they recounted to the other disciples what had happened, and “how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
I believe the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is really the story of every Christian. There are times as we journey through life when we are completely oblivious to Christ’s presence with us. Then we read or hear a scripture passage, or we come to the table of the Lord, and we discover anew Christ’s abiding presence and realize that he had been with us all along, though we failed to recognize his presence.
Our first reading this Sunday is again taken from the Acts of the Apostles. It describes the early Christian community. “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.”
Our second reading this weekend is from the first Letter of Saint Peter. Most likely this letter was written to Christians who were experiencing some unspecified trials. It reminded them that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection: “although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Has there been a time when --- in retrospect --- you realize Christ had been with you, even though you didn’t recognize it at the time?
- We believe that the Eucharist is the preeminent way that Christ is present to us. We also believe, though, that he is present when we read the scriptures. Additionally, we know that he is present where two or three are gathered in his name? Where else have you experienced Christ abiding presence?
- We know that the life of the early Christian community, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, didn’t last very long. Why do you think that is?