Third Sunday of Easter
The disciples on the road to Emmaus hear the Scriptures interpreted in a way that had never occurred to them before. It causes their hearts to burn within them; it is what they have been waiting to hear all their lives. It moves them to beg Jesus, “Stay with us.” Our hearts burn as we hear Peter interpret Psalm 16 with the same striking authority. The words that speak of Christ’s Resurrection—“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence”—have totally revivified Peter’s own life. The Eucharist is the enduring proof that we have been “ransomed from all our futile conduct by the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.”
In Catholicism, Lectio Divina (from the Latin for Holy Reading) is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation, and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's word. For the practitioner, it follows a common rhythm of quiet reading (often aloud to oneself), of thoughtful meditation and contemplation on what one has read, and then, if so moved, of a prayerful dialogue with God in response to what one has encountered in scripture. This reflective, meditative, active listening, if you will, allows the Holy Spirit to deepen one's awareness of God's presence and invites His initiative to speak with us.
LISTEN: Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. (cf. Lk 24:27)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 24:13-35
That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were 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. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazorean, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “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 beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they 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?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
The Gospel of the Lord.
CONSIDER: They recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread.
The celebration of the Eucharist
No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.
We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Saviour became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.
The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit
… We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our saviour Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration.
An excerpt from the first apology in defense of the Christians by Saint Justin, martyr.
Lord, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, as the evening of our life approaches please stay with us that we may recognize you as the Bread of Life, the One who sustains us on our journey. Let our eyes be opened to you, Jesus; let our hearts burn with your love; let our souls fill with the peace that comes through understanding that you are the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah who has come to gather the nations. Let our mouths proclaim you, as did the early witnesses of your one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church proclaim you, in the breaking of the bread. It is here, in the most holy sacrifice of the Mass that our eyes our opened by faith, and you are revealed to us, and to all the nations, as the self-gift in and through the Paschal Mystery culminating in your Eucharistic self-offering. We give you thanks, for you are the food and drink in the lowly and humble appearance of bread and wine, nourishing and sustaining our souls now and forever. Amen.
For additional reflection on today’s Gospel reading, consider Two Different Views of the Story of Emmaus by Dale Ahlquist found here: https://catholicinsight.com/two-different-views-of-the-story-of-emmaus/
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.