A scholarly attempt at an interpretation of Sunday's liturgical readings.

On the road

How many times have you walked into a busy place and noticed someone that you thought you knew?  The face and demeanor seemed familiar, but the person’s name would not come to mind.

In the Gospel for the third Sunday of Easter (Luke 24:13-35) we have something similar.  Two disciples are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and are joined by Jesus.  They don’t recognize him, but he does seem familiar.

While on the road they discuss what recently happened in Jerusalem, namely, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  After they explain to Jesus the content of their conversation,  Jesus tells them what the Scriptures say about the Messiah.  When the group reaches Emmaus, the disciples invite Jesus to join them in a meal.  Jesus accepts and joins them.

It was when Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples that they knew that their road companion was actually Jesus.  Most likely, these gestures reminded them of Jesus feeding the five thousand.  As the Gospel reading tells us, “…He became known to them in the breaking of the bread.”  (Luke 24:35)  Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem and  shared their recent experience with Jesus’ closest followers.

What is this Gospel reading telling us?  We can get some idea by noting what Luke does in this reading.  First of all, he divides this section into four parts.  Secondly, we can incorporate these divisions into our lives.

Luke’s four parts: (1)-The MEETING.  Jesus joins the disciples “on the road.”  (2)-CONVERSATION EN ROUTE.  Jesus explains the role of the Messiah by way of the Scriptures.  (3)-EMMAUS MEAL.  Jesus is recognized  “…in the breaking of the bread.”  (4)-RETURN TO JERUSALEM.  The two disciples share their experience of Jesus with others.

Our Lesson?  (1)-The MEETING.  We have to meet Jesus every day.  We are always “on the road.”  It is through the encounter with Jesus that we have hope in this challenging world.  (2)-CONVERSATION EN ROUTE.  Prayer in our lives is nothing more than conversation with God.  (3)-EMMAUS MEAL.  We recognize Jesus “…in the breaking of the bread.”  Mass and Communion are very important for us.  (4)-RETURN TO JERUSALEM.  Our life (good example) is the best way way of sharing Jesus with others.

In other words, it is by the “meeting,” “conversation,” “Emmaus meal,” and “sharing Jesus” that we can celebrate the real blessings of Easter.  For as long as we are “on the road” we can use all the help that we can get.

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