Sunday, April 30
Third Sunday of Easter
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 Nazarene,
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.
May the blessings of Our Lord be with you as we continue this Easter Season!
It seems almost laughable that two guys would be hiking down the road together, meet up and continue their walk with Jesus – the subject of their highly energized conversation – and not recognize that Jesus was walking with them. Perhaps their combined emotions of excitement, grief, and sorrow had made them blind to that fact. They were totally focused on their grief and the awesome events that had just taken place. How could these men be that blind? We too can easily get caught up in the moment and be equally blind to Jesus’ presence in our lives.
There is a saying that you don’t see with your eyes or hear with your ears. Eyes simply diffuse light and ears simply receive audible noise. It is our brains that process what we see and hear and our intellect that determines if and how we might respond. Our brains can only process about one or two things at a time, so whatever pre-occupies us must necessarily push out other possibilities. So it might have been this way with these two men. They were so caught up in their emotions that the most important moment of their lives almost entirely escaped their grasp. Luckily for them, their brains caught up with the drama that unfolded. It was Jesus’ breaking of the bread that rattled their brains away from their grief and back into the moment. They were filled with joy as their eyes were opened with the Body of Jesus. When the disciples finally realized who was with them, Jesus left instantly. The bread, now his Body, became the suitable replacement, equal in value, equal in substance, and equal in reality. As joy replaced sorrow and grief for these men, so it should be with us.
How often and how easily can we get caught up in our daily grind and other day-to-day busyness that are of little or lasting importance. Our brain can easily be distracted with television, news, and social media – all forcing out thoughts of Jesus’ presence in our lives. He is here! He is Risen! He is with us now and forever! Do we give ourselves enough time to wrap our brains around that? His presence with us in the breaking of the bread and hearing His word remains with us today just as it did for those two guys hiking to Emmaus so long ago.
Let us continue this Easter Season with the joy that comes with His presence in Word and in Sacrament!
Deacon Don Poirier