Gospel Reflection Apr 23 – Deacon Frank
Sunday, April 23
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.
Our Gospel reading this weekend is about two travelers on a journey from Jerusalem along the road to Emmaus. It begins by presenting us with the picture of Jesus’ frightened and frustrated disciples. This wasn’t the first time they were frightened or frustrated by Our Lord – nor was it the last time. The kingdom Jesus came to offer would be much greater than they were capable of imagining. The way into that kingdom would be the cross. Through good times and bad, Jesus never abandons them, even when they deserted him.
In our journey through life, sometimes things can get pretty discouraging. Things don’t always happen the way we think they should, and we feel anger, discouragement, and sadness. Through good times and bad, Our Lord is with us, although we do not always recognize him like the two disciples we will hear about in this Sunday’s Gospel.
Jesus has won victory for us over all those forces that seek to pull us down. He has declared victory, even over our ultimate enemy – sin and death. It is the victory that we celebrate, especially during this Easter season. All through the year, Jesus is with us, teaching us with his word in the Scriptures, and nourishing us with the bread of his own flesh and blood as he does when we receive him each Sunday at Mass. May you trust in Our Lord’s presence with you and always experience the hope, joy, and love that never fails.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino