- 18-04-2021 -Third Sunday of Easter
Gospel reading: Luke 24:35-48
vs.35 The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognized Jesus at thebreaking of bread.
vs.36 They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you!"
vs.37 In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost.
vs.38 But he said, "Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts?
vs.39 Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have."
vs.40 And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet.
vs.41 Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
vs.42 And they offered him a piece of grilled fish,
vs.43 which he took and ate before their eyes.
vs.44 Then he told them, "This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled."
vs.45 He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
vs.46 and he said to them, "So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
vs.47 and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
vs.48 You are witnesses to this."
We have Four commentators available from whom you may wish to choose . Scroll on down to the name of the commentator required.
Michel DeVerteuil: A Recently deceased Trinidadian Holy Ghost Priest, director of the Centre of Biblical renewal
Thomas O'Loughlin: Professor of Historical Theology, University of Northampton
Sean Goan: Studied scripture in Rome, Jerusalem and Chicago and taught at Blackrock College and now work's with Le Chéile
Lectio Divina with the Sunday Gospels
On this Sunday we are still meditating on the resurrection of Jesus. As always, the secret of good meditation on this feast is to remember our own experiences of death and resurrection.
- Verse 35 is the conclusion of a previous incident. The two disciples had met Jesus when they were on the road to Emmaus. They had had a long and fruitful meeting with him but only came to recognise him at the breaking of the bread - a clear reference to the Holy Eucharist celebrated by the communities of Christians.
- Verses 36 to 43: Jesus interrupts the conversation of the disciples by appearing to them. He greets them with his customary words , "Peace be with you", telling them that they can be at peace with themselves, with one another and with God. They were in a state of "alarm and fright" but he spoke to them with patience and compassion.
- Verses 44 and 45 tell the story of how the disciples grew gradually into Jesus' message of wisdom. He had been telling them things all along. It was only when he had died, however, and had risen that their minds were finally opened so that they could see for themselves that everything written about him was true. The Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms had all been truly fulfilled in him and his destiny, arranged by God for him and for the rest of the people.
- Verses 46 to 48 give us the content of the lesson they have learned. He had "opened their minds to understand the Scriptures". Now he tells them how they are to go out and preach it.
- The first reality they must announce is the fact that the Christ would suffer and then on the third day rise from the dead. This is the central act of Jesus our Saviour. Everything else about him is summed up in that one fact of history. All his long and many works beforehand now take their reality from this. They have their reason and their fulfilment in this alone. We can see the implications of this from his many miracles and teachings.
- His message is clear. It is one of repentance for the forgiveness of all sins. We must learn that, like him, we too must first die to what we consider closest to us and then to rise again with a new life that we can share with all.
- This message is to be preached not merely to Jews and the people of Jerusalem but to all the nations of the world.
- They are the witnesses to the wider world of this new fact of history - Jesus risen from the dead tells us how we too will be able to experience the presence of God. We will see him not merely in himself but also in all his works and promises.
Lord, we remember with gratitude our resurrection experiences:
- one of our children was at death's door but got well and healthy again;
- failure left us down-hearted, our self-confidence destroyed;
gradually we got back our enthusiasm
and felt able to take on new challenges;
- we hurt someone dear to us and thought we could never be friends again,
but we were forgiven and it was as if nothing had ever come between us;
- we spent years in bondage to drink or drugs;
we thought we could never get out of it;
then someone restored us to healthy living.
We remember now the wonderful moment when we knew
that life had come back.
We thought at first we were seeing a ghost,
we were agitated and felt doubts rising in our hearts.
Hesitantly we were able to touch and see for ourselves.
Our joy was so great we still could not believe
and stood there dumbfounded.
Then we learnt that everything told us in the Law of Moses,
the Psalms and the Prophets was to be fulfilled in him.
Lord, we pray today for all who have been involved in the work of the military in different parts of the world:
- in Iraq as local and foreign workers for peace and reconciliation
- in Israel and Palestine as searchers for a new life for all inhabitants
- in the Basque Country bringing about a new society in which all would be welcome
- in Northern Ireland, working for a better society for all.
We pray that all may see you and recognise in their suffering the frustration of death
so that they like you will be the only ones who can bring peace to their countries and to the wider world.
Lord, as teachers we sometimes meet children who have been deeply hurt.
We get impatient with them, want them to trust us right away.
Help us to be like Jesus and walk step by step with them,
inviting them to touch and see for themselves,
assuring them that a ghost has no flesh and bones as they can see we have,
showing them our own wounds,
and taking their food to eat before their eyes.
Lord, it takes us a long time to learn the deep lessons of life:
- that at one time or another we have to give ourselves completely;
- that we are responsible for our own destiny;
- that love grows to maturity out of manyreconciliations;
- that there can never be lasting peace without justice.
Our parents told us, while they were still with us, but we resisted them.
We thank you that after a great crisis their words came back to us,
as real as if they were standing before us, and our minds were opened.
We saw that every page of the bible was teaching us this all the time,
every psalm, every sacred book said it,
but only now could we tell it to the nations
because it was written not merely in books, but in our hearts,
and we were witnesses to it.
Lord, we pray for those who dream of a better society
and who are discouraged by their failures or the failures of good people.
Send them some Jesus person to stand among them and say, "Peace be with you!"
and show them his own wounded hands and feet,
showing them from his own experience that everything in the Law of Moses,
the Prophets and the Psalms, has to be fulfilled
so that their minds can be opened and they can see
how it is written into the laws of life that all great projects must die
and only on the third day rise from the dead.
Lord, as parents, leaders, guides
we think we can hand down prescriptions to others
with no reference to their own experience.
As a result, we call others to repent but do not communicate forgiveness,
or we offer a false forgiveness without repentance.
But we are witnesses that those who preach to the nations
must always start from Jerusalem,
the place where they abandoned their Lord
and experienced that he rose from the dead
and returned to stand among them.
Liturgical Resources for the Year of Matthew
Introduction to the Celebration
We have gathered to celebrate the presence of the risen Lord among us. We are called to be the people who bear witness to his victory over death. We are the people who proclaim the Father's forgiveness to the ends of the earth by being people who are forgiving.
1. Luke, both in his gospel and in Acts, has a picture of the world as made up of concentric rings. At the centre is Jerusalem (the holy city where the Lord has chosen to dwell), then the surrounding countryside and region (the land of the chosen people), and finally the lands beyond this again (the lands of the nations). He sees the witness that Christians must bear to the victory of Jesus over death, and so the forgiveness of humanity, as spreading out through these rings starting from the centre. It is like the ripple effects in a pond.
2. Our attempts to build a world of peace and goodness tend to fail as we give up on plans as useless: 'What's the use? It'll be all the same no matter what we do!' This forgets the incarnational dynamic of action: we may think global, but we act local. The Lord came to save humanity as one human in one place at one time. His impact ripples outwards in time and space – from one man in Palestine it has now touched each of us. The place to seek for peace is at the centre of our own lives, then in our immediate personal world, then in the world that touches our lives, and then beyond. We make our impact where we can and then let the ripples spread outwards. Do not despair at the dark clouds and the seeming impossibility of peace and justice, but act with justice in a single case in one's own life and avoid surrendering to the darkness.
Let the reader understand
Gospel Luke 24:35-48
Only in Luke do we find this resurrection story that is built around the theme of a journey. This is a theme dear to the evangelist as he portrayed Jesus journeying to Jerusalem through the second half of his gospel. Now we are shown disciples coming away from Jerusalem full of disappointment and lacking in understanding. On their journey they are brought to see things differently by a Jesus they only finally recognise at the breaking of what the Emmaus journey is all about. Every Christian must come to a resurrection faith, one that accompanies Jesus through from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. We are invited to understand through our prayerful reading of the scriptures and the events that occur 'on the road' of our lives that the risen Lord still walks with us and meets us, especially when we gather to break bread, that is share in the Eucharist.
The first and second readings point to the danger of thinking that just because we belong to what we consider to be the 'true' religion we do not have to concern ourselves with how we live out that faith. Peter is speaking to his fellow-Jews beside the temple in Jerusalem, reminding them of the need for repentance while John is writing to some smug Christians who feel that simply knowing Jesus is enough. The fact is that there must be a connection between what we believe and the way we live. Our faith must show itself in love. The Emmaus story is a reminder that unfortunately, the story of Easter may remain just a retelling of some event from the distant past if we do not allow Jesus to show us how his resurrection is a source of life for us today. Its power is to be experienced in the ordinary events of life as we struggle to be faithful. However, it is often only with hindsight that we can see the ways the Lord has accompanied us on the road.
Donal Neary SJ
The Sacred in the Ordinary
Interesting that it is hard to find a painting of their late-night meal of fish. Others are crowded on Google images. The garden, the breakfast on the beach, the road to Emmaus – old and new pictures. Is the fish meal too ordinary for the resurrection? We can’t believe that the Lord of all creation who died for us will be recognised so simply or can we?
Jesus is in a bit of a fix. Faith is still weak in his followers – how can he get to them? Thought the doors are closed, he comes among them in their fear. He said Peace again. This doesn’t seem to get through. Finally tried a meal of ordinary fish with them. Somehow it is getting through. They have remembered other meals of fish and the way he ate it. Faith is growing in them in the simple act of sharing a meal together.
There is always another way for Jesus. We resist that he is so ordinary. The resurrection happens now and in the ordinary. How this week did I find the resurrection? where I took a jump outside of the self in love, care, work for justice? In any way we raise each other up to a better human life and faith, then the resurrection is being shared.
The garden, the chat on the road, and now the ordinary meal. Imagine if we saidhe took fish, said the blessing…! All of life is sacred, and shot through with the love and grace of the risen Lord.
In your breathing in and out, echo the word ‘Peace’
Lord, make me a means of your peace.