Scripture of the Week
Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:
'Our Daily Meditation' from Madonna Magazine - Jesuit Communications (Australia)
Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA)
Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)
Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:
Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm SEE BELOW
Fr. John McKinnon click here
Fr. John Thornhill click here
Sunday, 30 Apr 2017: Third Sunday of Easter - Year A
First Reading - Acts 2:14, 22-33
It was impossible for him to be held by the power of Hades.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:
I saw the Lord before me always,
for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad
and my tongue cried out with joy:
my body, too, will rest in the hope
that you will not abandon my soul to Hades
nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me,
you will fill me with gladness through your presence.
‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’
Ps 15:1-2. 5. 7-11. R. v.11
(R.) Lord, you will show us the path of life.
Second Reading - 1 Peter 1:17-21
The ransom that was paid to free you was the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
If you are acknowledging as your Father one who has no favourites and judges everyone according to what he has done, you must be scrupulously careful as long as you are living away from your home. Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ; who, though known since before the world was made, has been revealed only in our time, the end of the ages, for your sake. Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.
See Lk 24:32
Lord Jesus, make your word plain to us:
make our hearts burn with love when you speak.
Gospel - Luke 24:13-35
They recognised him at the breaking of the bread.
Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.
Extraordinary things can happen if we open ourselves to the presence of a stranger or “foreigner” on the road of life. That seems to be a key element in today’s gospel passage from the well-known and well-loved Emmaus story. Imagine two dejected disciples (Cleopas and possibly his wife) on Easter Day, on the road back from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus, a few kilometres away. On their journey, they encounter Jesus who has been raised. At first, they fail to recognise him. Their sadness at his violent death has blinded them to the significance of the women’s account of the empty tomb. It has blinded them to what is happening before their very eyes.
Jesus engages them in conversation and holds up a metaphorical mirror to their experience of loss and grief. Their hearts “burn” within them as he reveals to them the meaning of his death and resurrection in the light of their sacred scriptures. Yet still they fail to recognise the one whom they have described as “a prophet mighty in deed and word.” They invite him to share a meal with them and their eyes are opened: they recognise him in the blessing and breaking of the bread they share with him. He disappears from their midst. They cannot contain the joy they have experienced in realising that Jesus is alive and once more present to them, but in a new and transforming way.
Cleopas and partner go straight back to Jerusalem to share this good news with the other disciples. Now all the assembled disciples experience powerfully the presence of Jesus in their midst. They too pass over the women’s story; it is the appearance to Peter of the resurrected Jesus that is the ground of their new faith. As the story continues beyond today’s reading, we learn that the male disciples will also share a meal with him and he will open their minds to understand the scriptures. Everything will fall into place. The fear that has paralysed them will fall away. They will not only understand Jesus’ death and resurrection in the light of the scriptures. They will be “clothed with power from on high” to exercise their role as witnesses to this great mystery.
Extraordinary things can happen to those who are hospitable enough to “break bread” with “foreigners” in whom they do not immediately recognise God’s presence. If we open our hearts and our homes to those who seek a welcome on our shores, we might come to participate a little more deeply in the joy of the resurrection.
Sr Veronica Lawson rsm
© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.