Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Year A
Theme: AND THEIR EYES WERE OPENED…
By: Fr. Ben Agbo
Homily for Sunday April 26 2020
* Act 2 : 14 – 33, 1Pet 1 : 17 – 21,Lk 24 : 13 – 35.
Everything goes wrong when believers begin their journey to ‘Emmaus’ – 7 miles away from the region of grace (Jerusalem). It could be through backsliding to our former sinful habits ; It could be through compromising the Word of God ; It could be through an excursion into the world of the occult through divination, sorcery and all the things we go to Pagan ‘dibias’ to do for us.
But one thing still saved the situation ; they were discussing the Word of God. They were doing a kind of spirituall colloquium – sharing of their faith experience and shattered expectations as former disciples of one ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, the events of whose life they reported in the past perfect tense : ‘Who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people… We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…’ Oh! God forbid that I should ever make such a negative Confession about Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour!
B. STAGES OF DISCIPLESHIP
These disciples within a period of less than 24 hours passed through all these stages of discipleship through their pendulum swing from backsliding faith to resurrectional faith ;
(i) Word minus Presence minus Faith minus Eucharist =Zero Level Discipleship (Many Christians are unfortunately at this level). This was before Jesus came to join them.
(ii) Word plus Presence minus Faith minus Eucharist = Elementary Level Discipleship. (Majority of Christians are at this level). This was before Jesus explained the scriptures to them.
(iii) Word plus Presence plus Faith minus Eucharist = Secondary Level Discipleship (Many non Catholics are operating powerfully at this level). This was when they asked Jesus to come and stay with them.
(iv) Word plus Presence plus Faith plus Eucharist = Advanced level discipleship. (Very few Christians sincerely speaking, are at this level). This was after Jesus manifested himself to them at the breaking of bread.
Just imagine what believers who listened to Jesus and moved about with Jesus began to say after some moments of hardship and disappointments? The most painful was their denial of the resurrection. Just look at their language of reportage : ‘Some women of our company amazed us…’ Even the empirical evidence of the empty tomb was discarded by people who were supposed to be disciples of Jesus as ‘vision of angels’. Friends, scepticism is no wisdom! Jesus had to address them as ‘Foolish men, slow at heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken’. Yes, if there was no prior evidence of scriptural revelation about the resurrection, their doubts could have been reasonable. Perhaps they were mere believers who did not know the scriptures as many are today.
But they now did something that was salutary and laudable. After their encounter with Jesus at the 3rd level, they asked him to stay with them longer. This led to deeper fellowship encounter. Their eyes were now opened during the breaking of bread (the primitive sacrament of the Eucharist) and they confessed : ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us on the road, while he explained to us the scriptures?’. This is always the effect of every authentic Christian fellowship and exchange of the Word of God. This actually what every mass should be.
They went back to Jerusalem. This is the action we need to take today – going back to fellowship at the Upper room. Fellowship is the staying power of the Christian community – the only network by which we access God. That is the only place where the comforter comes to meet us – the Holy Spirit of power.
It is not enough to have heard the Word of God. Ask yourself whether you feel the presence of Jesus in your life. Do you really have a living faith in him or do you talk about him in the language of the past? Do you believe in what he can do (miracles and healing) or are you an arm chair theologian or worse still, a bloody philosopher or sceptic? Do you receive the Holy Communion truly and sincerely in a state of grace? Or are you one of those Catholics who abuse the Eucharist and make it ineffective and ineffectual. The Word of God prophesied that in the last days men would uphold a form of religion and deny the inner power therein, 2 Tim 3 : 5. Just find your level and queue into his grace. Happy Easter dear friends!