30 April 2017: Third Sunday of Easter

Reading 1 Response Reading 2 Gospel
Acts 2:14, 22-33 Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 1 Pt 1:17-21 Lk 24:13-35

Resurrection: mystery of continuing presence

White_gold_banner_sm Throughout the Easter season, the Sunday readings ask us, the believing community, to examine the meaning of the resurrection. This week the readings describe the resurrected Jesus present in words (scripture) and actions.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Luke recounts Peter’s first kerygmatic speech, given the day of Pentecost. Peter uses Psalm 16 to shows that David (the psalm’s author) foretold Jesus’ resurrection.

In the second reading from Peter’s first letter, the author describes God’s call to the believing community. God has redeemed the people through Christ’s own blood; therefore God calls them to holiness and to mutual love.

In today’s gospel, Luke relates the disciples’ surprise encounter with the resurrected Jesus, who reveals himself in words and actions. Luke uses the journey, the road, or “the way” as a metaphor for discipleship, and teaches disciples how to recognize the resurrected Jesus:

  • In words. Jesus reveals that all of Hebrew scripture explains what he has done as messiah, including his suffering and death. Jesus connects his saving action with the scripture’s suffering ones (Isaiah’s suffering servant, the prophets, the Jewish people).
  • In actions. Jesus reveals himself in the “breaking of bread,” a Jewish ritual performed at every shared meal. In the late first century, Christian communities shared meals together as a continuation of Jesus’ meals in his public life, and possibly in anticipation of the end-time messianic banquet.

By the time Luke wrote his gospel, the Christian liturgy already was taking shape, including readings (from Hebrew scripture and possibly Paul’s letters) and breaking bread together in a shared meal. In a disciple’s ordinary life (the journey), Jesus is always present but often unrecognized. Liturgy reveals Jesus in word and action, reminding disciples that we need to look for Jesus in order to see him.

Jesus’ resurrection has many meanings and many implications. The church’s Easter season gives us six weeks to reflect on this one cosmos-changing event. Jesus reveals himself in the witness of his disciples, in the liturgy, in the sacraments, and in our own personal encounters with the Lord. Jesus is always present with us on our journey. When do we hear him speaking? Where do we suddenly see him?

—Terence Sherlock

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