Reflection: Third Sunday of Easter

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Acts 2:14, 22-33; Ps.15; 2nd Reading – 1Pt.1:17-21; Gospel – Lk.24:13-35]

The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is well known.  Yet, every time we read it with the eyes of faith, there is always something new that we can find, or, if not new, something that strikes us in a particular way.

We are told that there were these two disciples of Jesus on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  It was a seven mile walk.  Along the way they were talking about Jesus and what had happened in Jerusalem.  We are also told that Jesus came up to them and walked by their side.  However, although they were his disciples, they were unable to recognise him.  So what type of disciples were they?  What was their relationship with Jesus?  The gospel writer tells us that “something prevented them from recognising him”.  Although they were talking about him, they did not really know him!  They did not recognise him when he met them … and they did not recognise him when he spoke to them.  Those who had a strong relationship with Jesus recognised him either immediately, or else when he spoke to them.  In this case, these disciples of Jesus did not recognise their own master when he met them and even when he spoke to them!  It is true that Jesus did not use his characteristic “Peace be with you!” to address them.  Still, they were so absorbed in their own discussion ‘about him’ that it did not occurred to them that this person right in front of them might be Jesus himself, the one they were discussing about.  The fact that their faces were “downcast” did not really help.

What they told Jesus was all true.  Indeed, Jesus was an extraordinary man, and his powers were divine. They knew him well.  They also knew about the resurrection and that his dead body was not found …  They knew a lot of things about Jesus, but they did not really know him, even though they were his disciples. They did not recognise him because they were “so slow to BELIEVE the full message of the prophets”. Their faith was weak and therefore they failed to grasp what Jesus had told them when he was teaching them as their master.

We are told that Jesus then explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets.  Even with this additional teaching and knowledge they struggled to BELIEVE.  They certainly knew about Jesus, they were seeing him right there in front of them … And yet they could not progress onto the next stage of their faith, to put all things together as in a jigsaw puzzle and realise that the person in front of them was indeed the person they were speaking and discussing about.  It is like what happens to us when we realise that we know all that we know about Jesus, and yet we still have difficulty to accept him as the saviour of our life, as the mighty one that we know him to be!

It was only when Jesus broke the bread and handed it to them that “their eyes were opened and they recognised him”.  Once they recognised him, Jesus vanished from their sight.  In other words, once they came to their senses, they BELIEVED and accepted Jesus for who he really is … there is no need for them to have him visibly and tangibly with them anymore.  Faith does not need “knowledge” but “trust” in the word of God.  In fact this is exactly what they say to each other: “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” No, their hearts were not burning within them! Jesus continues to walk with us in the same way and talk with us in our everyday life.  Is our heart burning within us to recognise his presence among us?

“Lord, quite often we put our mind at ease because we ‘know’ you.  At the same time we are so distracted in what happens around us that we often forget your presence among us.  Lord, help us to recognise your presence and help us to recognise you.  Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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