Gospel Reflection Apr 26 – Deacon Paul
Sunday, April 26
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.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus helps two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus to see that their hopes were misplaced because they did not factor in the Resurrection of Jesus properly. For them, the Messiah was supposed to live forever, but Jesus was dead. They are on their journey from Jerusalem following the crucifixion of Jesus, a place of pain, of sorrow, and loss, but Jesus comes to their rescue. He walks along with them, talking to them about the Scriptures, the promises and revelations found in God’s Word.
At nightfall, the disciples urged Jesus to stay and share a meal with them. Though their eyes had been closed to Jesus’ presence, “in the breaking of the bread,” their eyes were opened, and they were able to behold the risen Christ.
Although Jesus is physically absent, He continues to be with His followers through the Word and the Eucharist. This encounter on the road so turned the hearts of the disciples that they literally turned around and ran back into the fray, back into Jerusalem, back into the world. So must we allow our encounter with Christ be in others, in prayer, in the Word, and in the Eucharist to turn our hearts to Jesus.
The Easter season is a time for rejoicing that Our Lord has shattered the bonds of death through the Resurrection. We celebrate His victory because it is our victory as well.
Remember we are not walking alone, for the Risen Jesus is walking with us on our roads to Emmaus.
-Deacon Paul Zemanek