Gospel: Luke 24:13-35
We are Easter people and "Alleluia" is our Song. Let us sing "Alleluia"
here and now in this life, even though we are oppressed by various
worries, so that we may sing it one day in the world to come,
when we are set free from all anxiety.
-St. Augustine of Hippo
On Easter Sunday, there are choices given to the priests regarding the Scriptures to be read. Therefore, if you have heard a different Gospel from the one I have chosen, realize that it is just a different choice. I chose it since it seems to include what is contained in the others.
In today's Gospel from Luke, we find the risen Jesus joining two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus. When Jesus asked them what they were conversing about, they where talking about the recent crucifixion and death of Jesus. They were confused and troubled because they knew Jesus' body was no longer in the tomb. Had some people removed it? They had witnessed Jesus' miracles. Why had he not saved himself?
Jesus responded: "Oh how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Jesus then interpreted the prophets for them.
As evening approached, the disciples invited Jesus to stay with them. As they sat down for an evening meal, Jesus said a blessing and took bread, broke it and gave it to them. They then recognized Jesus and exclaimed,"Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"
They returned to Jerusalem where they found the eleven and others who exclaimed that Jesus had appeared to Simon. Together they proclaimed that Jesus had risen. It was the appearances of Jesus in his risen body that had assured them that promise of a Savior had been fulfilled.
There are some parts of the Easter Liturgies which are special :
1. An ancient hymn called a "sequence" used to be sung to add to the ceremony of the gospel procession. Today it can be sung or recited at the Easter Masses. Let us take time to reflect on the beautiful words:
Praise the Pascal Victim
Christian, to the Pascal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring what you saw, wayfaring.
The tomb of Christ who is living,
The glory of Jesus' resurrection;
Bright angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
To Galilee he goes before you.
Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
2. It is important to meditate on Renewal of Baptismal Promises so that they become more meaningful. Usually, this happens after the reading of the Gospel.
The Celebrant will say:
Dear brothers and sisters, through the Paschal Mystery we have been buried with Christ in Baptism, so that we may walk with him in newness of life.
And so, now that our Lenten observance is concluded, let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism, by which we once renounced Satan and his works and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church. And so I ask you.
1. Do you renounce Satan? I do.
And all his works? I do.
And all his empty show? I do.
2. Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God? I do.
Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you? I do.
Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin? I do.
Since we are weak human beings, we need to ask the Lord's help to keep our promises. With his grace, we can be faithful.
Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
One past November I took a mini vacation to Savannah, Georgia. The trip was my first real get-away in forty years, so needless to say I was very excited. Savannah was no exception to the extreme weather conditions that most cities along the east coast were experiencing. I departed Philadelphia in blustery rain only to find it cold and stormy in Savannah. It poured three out of the four days I visited. Sunday, however, was a glorious day and I spent every daylight hour exploring the city. I was greeted by a resident who was walking her dog in one of the town’s historic squares. She quickly assessed that I was a tourist because I was taking pictures of everything. She commented that the one photo I must absolutely take was of the “Resurrection” trees lining the path. She went on to tell me that if these trees are deprived of water for just a few days, their lush green draping foliage turns brown and dries out. If I had visited the prior week, I would be observing dead looking trees. Thus, the blustery cold rain that dampened my sightseeing and lead to turbulent flights “resurrected” these trees to vibrant life.
Naturally, I was thinking spirituality principles as this hometown lady related the nature of the trees. After all, we go through a similar transformation with every dark period we experience. If we invite Jesus to tread with us through the rainy days of life, we too will emerge renewed like the unique trees of Savannah.
Lent is a time dedicated to reflection and prayerfulness. Acknowledging my sinfulness, I petition God for mercy and strength. During these “examination of conscious” moments, I recognize patterns of behavior that deplete my spirit, deadening it to my soul’s needs. When in this withered state, I am incapable of noticing the needs of others. Worse, I am apathetic to the suffering of others.
Unless I refresh myself with “Living Water,” my soul remains parched. This lifegiving water, of course, is Jesus. I look to the cross and see there the greatest love of all time. Total gift of Self, given that I will have life. We are showered with abundant grace when we meditate upon Christ’s passion and death. Such contemplation puts things in perspective, opens the heart to forgiveness, and reignites within us the desire to move forward as a dedicated disciple of Jesus.
Raised from the depths of my self-imposed separateness from God, self and others, I am restored to life. My “resurrected” self reflects the light, love and oneness of Christ radiating in and through me.
Once again, I celebrate the joy of my “belovedness”, It is Easter!
Stephanie Morris, ASBS, Ph.D Historian, Certified Archivist, Emerita
Only one disciple on the road to Emmaus – Cleopas – is named; you might be the other. Does your heart burn when reading on listening to the Word of God? Does your soul sing “Alleluia” when you receive the Body and Blood of your Savior? How can you deepen your response to God’s Presence? A few quiet moments spent in gratitude, contrition, praise and petition might help to quiet our restless spirit and allow us to rest calmly in God’s loving embrace.