HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR A.
THEME: EXPERIENCE THE RISEN LORD.
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm: Ps. 16
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-21
Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35
We have before us this morning one of the most vivid and insightful accounts of our Lord’s appearances after His resurrection. Luke is the only one of the four gospel writers to include this story. It is a story that reveals to us not only something about who we are, but how Jesus opens our eyes to see Him for who He is and about how we can come to know Him.
That walk to Emmaus is a metaphor for our own life journey of faith, when the Lord catches up with us too. It stands as a symbol for the whole Christian life. It outlines for us the journey that we all take from not recognizing Jesus, to understanding what the Scripture says about Him, to recognizing Him for who He is, and finally to our giving witness of what we have experienced.
Very often, we discount God’s deed simply because we cannot understand or explain it. We need to be careful. While God often uses natural things to accomplish His will, He also does things we can neither explain nor understand. The two disciples on the road knew something had happened, but it was beyond their level of faith to see things as they truly were.
Just because they knew about Jesus does not mean they knew Him. Just because they could see Him does not mean they could see who He was. For us too, many people today know about who Jesus is. We have heard about Him, read about Him, used His name, and many even claim to know Him. Yet we would not recognize Him if we saw Him. Our eyes would not be opened. This is because, Knowing about Him and knowing Him are two different things.
How then do we come to know Jesus?
It’s through the Scripture.
Luke 16:31: “If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” If we do not understand and believe in the Scripture, we cannot know Jesus truly. That was the case with these two disciples, their minds were still closed to the prophecy about the Messiah, so also their eyes blinded to his physical presence because they couldn’t believe the possibility of His resurrection. Yet, this had been foretold by the prophets.
Hence, Jesus “…beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) Jesus fed the two disciples on the road with a correct interpretation of Scripture and then fed them with his Body and Blood
Many people will try to tell you who Jesus is. He’s the ‘great provider,’ ‘the redeemer,’ ‘the rock of salvation.’ But outside of a knowledge of Scripture we will never have a proper understanding of who Jesus truly is.
When you know the Scriptures, they will build your faith, and only through faith can you come to Jesus. The truth of Scripture about Jesus leads to personal faith in Jesus.
After the moment of recognition Jesus disappears. It is strange that Jesus vanished immediately but surely Jesus wanted them to understand that he is present with the Church every time it celebrates the Eucharist. That is, Jesus is now within them through the eating of the bread. There was no need for his physical body to be present to them. Jesus had stirred their minds to understand, he had fed them, and he remains with them in spirit.
We may be astonished at how the disciples could not recognize Jesus, but how often in our own lives too do we fail to recognize the presence of Christ?
Jesus wants to communicate with us and he speaks to us and is truly present in the Scriptures. More specifically, Jesus is present among us in all our sacramental celebrations but especially in the Eucharist. This is why at our Eucharistic celebrations, we are first fed with the word of God, in the reading of the scriptures and the priests homily; then we recognize the true presence of Jesus in the reception of the Holy Eucharist.
That very hour, dark as it was, late as it was, dangerous and unsafe as the road was, they that had pleaded with Jesus to pass the night with them left for Jerusalem. They gave witness that Jesus was risen, that He had walked with them and talked with them, explained the Scriptures to them, and broke bread at their table.
After recognising the Risen Lord, the disciples feel empowered. They now want to go back to Jerusalem to share their experience, and to give hope to those who are still waiting to experience Jesus. This is the concluding part of the Eucharistic celebration: the dismissal and mission- “Go forth in peace.” “Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread” (Lk 24:35).
All who have experienced the risen Saviour should be moved with similar emotions. All who have come to know Him should react the same way. We should not be able to contain it
May this Eucharistic celebration, and indeed, every Eucharistic celebration, be an opportunity for us to experience the Risen Lord! May this experience transform us, and thus empower us to transform the world around us.
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