3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER
This weekend we continue our celebration of the Easter season which continues until Pentecost Sunday when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Our gospel reading for this Sunday tell us about the two disciples who were on their way to Emmaus. They were leaving Jerusalem, their hopes shattered after Jesus’ death or at least that is what they felt. Then they met the risen Lord. They didn’t recognize him at first, but they did after he opened the Scriptures for them and broke bread with them. After their encounter they returned to the community in Jerusalem with the news of what had happened. While they were still speaking to the community, Jesus stood in their midst and said to them peace be with you. He is encouraging them and not to be afraid. It’s still not enough. Then he invites them to touch him. Still more, he asks for food and eats in their presence. The resurrected Christ is very physically present, very much as he was when they traveled and ate together. Still, he’s different; more is needed. He is not just someone who somehow survived what was done to him and escaped. He didn’t experience a near death on the cross – he died and rose again as he said.
Jesus reminds them and us that he is the same, yet there is something very different about him. They knew that he was with them; he has proven that by establishing his physical presence. Yet, the disciples need more in order to accept his new presence with them. What he did for the disciples on the road to Emmaus he does again and again for us in the person of our priests. He expounds what the Scriptures had said about him in the same way our priests do for us today. Do we see that? Can we understand what God can do and has done for us – bring new life after death? Jesus doesn’t choose just certain Scriptures as proof texts. He tells us as he told the disciples “everything written about me in the law of Moses, and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
What would we be like if Jesus came and stood among us in real flesh and blood, I think that our reaction would be exactly the same as the apostles disbelief. But if we stop and think for a moment Jesus does come amongst us each time (for me as a Catholic) we go to Mass, Jesus is there with us on the Altar in the elements of Bread and wine and in the person of the Priest offering these gifts to the Father on our behalf.
We remember the last supper when Jesus gave us himself as an everlasting memorial and we remember that each time we hear the prayers of consecration at Mass that we do this in memory of him. Let us walk with Jesus in all of those who serve the poor and needy in the name of Christ. Let us walk with those who serve the children or those outsiders who seek Christ. In the mere process of being witness, the context comes alive. For Christ walks with us the Easter people when we serve others.