THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
(White) Cycle A/Year I (April 30, 2017)
Acts 2:14, 22-33/1 Pt 1:17-21/Lk 24:13-35
Two of the disciples of Jesus went back to Emmaus from Jerusalem. As they were walking, Jesus appeared to them and consoled them in their sadness regarding the death and disappearance of the Messiah. He explained to them the Scriptures, in particular all about the references on the Messiah. Then, the two invited Jesus in their home where, at the breaking of the bread, they recognized Jesus who immediately disappeared.
The expression “breaking of the bread” was common during the time of Jesus Christ. It referred to a meal. It was while they were having dinner that the two disciples recognized the Risen Lord. For us Christians, Jesus is always a guest, a special guest at home. In fact, to some families, they always reserve one seat in the table for Jesus Christ as a symbol that Jesus is an essential part of their families. Indeed, we encounter Jesus in the breaking of the bread where family members share not only their food but also their love and care with one another.
On the other hand, the expression “breaking of the bread” has acquired a sacramental meaning when it has been referred to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Holy Mass, Jesus breaks the bread and gives it to His disciples through the Holy Communion. This sacrament of the real presence of Jesus is central to Christian faith and life. It is in this sacrament that we encounter Jesus really present in body and blood, divinity and humanity in the consecrated bread and wine. It is in the Holy Communion that we become one with our Savior and Lord, sharing in His very life and grace.
Like the two disciples of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, we often do not recognize the presence of Jesus in our lives. It is because we walk towards the sunset. William Barclay said that “the Christian goes onwards, not to a night which falls, but to a dawn which breaks–and that is what, in their sorrow and their disappointment, the two on the Emmaus road had not realized.” We must always face and walk towards the sunrise which means that we must always search for the light who is Jesus Christ. We must always heed His message and be obedient to all His teachings. It is only when we keep and live up to His instructions that we can recognize in our life His presence which can take varied forms.
The two disciples invited Jesus to stay with them. Jesus did not force Himself upon the two. He awaited their invitation to come in. God has given us the gift of freedom. We can use our freedom or abuse it. We use it when we direct our goals and deeds to the fulfillment of the will of God; we abuse it when we do things only for our personal gains and selfish intentions. We have to remember that we were created by God for Him and as St. Augustine put it: “My soul is not at rest until it rests in you, my God.” If we want fullness of life, we have to use our freedom for the glory of God. As we continue celebrating this Easter Season, let us ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that we may always look for Jesus at the breaking of the bread and use our freedom to please God by sharing God’s love with our family, relatives, friends and neighbors.