Sunday Readings & Reflections


THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER 


Theme of Sunday: They Recognised Him at the “Breaking of Bread.”
The announcer of the Word should stress the message that we too can meet the Risen Lord when we hear the word of God and take part in the “breaking of bread.” The first and the second reading draw our attention to the need to have recourse to the Scriptures if we want to understand what happened to Jesus and what happens to us every day.

First Reading: Acts 2:14.22-33.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1-2a and 5.7-8.9-10.11 (R. 11a).
Second Reading:  1 Peter 1:17-21.
Gospel:  Luke 24:13-35.

Resources used:
*The Sunday Missal, Paulines Publications Africa
*Painting: Poster No. 59, Timothy – by  S. Ajak Bullen



Sunday Readings

FIRST READING Acts 2:14.22-33

“It was not possible for him to be held by death.”
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

[On the day of Pentecost,] Peter, standing with the Eleven, lifted up his voice and said, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give ear to my words. “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know – this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’” “Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear.”

The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 16:1-2a and 5.7-8.9-10.11 (R. 11a)

R. Lord, you will show me the path of life.
Or: Alleluia.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.”
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot.
R. Lord, you will show me the path of life.

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
R. Lord, you will show me the path of life.

And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my flesh shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to hell,
nor let your holy one see corruption.
R. Lord, you will show me the path of life.

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, bliss forever.
R. Lord, you will show me the path of life.

SECOND READING
1 Peter 1:17-21

“You were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a Lamb without blemish.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Peter

Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
The word of the Lord.
Luke 24:32
Alleluia. Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn with love when you speak to us. Alleluia.
GOSPEL READING
Luke 24:13-35

“They recognised him in the breaking of the bread.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

That very day [the first day of the week], two of the disciples of Jesus were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognising him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is towards evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the Eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Gospel of the Lord.



Sunday Reflections


THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – JN 1:6-8.19-28

REJOICE

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. That is the entrance song for today in the missal. Again, I say, rejoice. It gives the Latin name to this day: Gaudete. Rejoice. It is also our Second Reading today: Rejoice always. Our prophet in the First Reading also calls out: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.” And the psalm today is Mary’s Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

One morning, at a certain church where I was living, a woman arrived with some of her people. She was carrying a small baby wrapped in a blanket. However, the child was dead. The mother was bowed down with that very great sorrow.

I invited her to come into the church. We went right up to the altar. I asked her to put the child down on the step in front of the altar. We sat down in the front seat together. I said to her: “Now offer your child to God. You remember Abraham. God asked him to offer his only child. He was ready. Remember Mary. She stood beside the cross. She offered her child to God. Jesus himself as he died, offered himself: ‘Into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Mary prayed with him. Father, he is yours. Take him.” I knelt down and prayed the Lord to speak to this sorrowing young mother.

Next day, I met her again. I was quite surprised. Her whole face was wrapped in joyful peace. The Lord Jesus it seemed, had spoken to her heart. He had not returned her child to her alive. She had made her sacrifice. She had embraced the Lord’s will and word for her, and was happy now even in the midst of her loss.

It is the enemy of our souls who wants us to think that serving God is too difficult, that his laws are too strict, that following the way of Christ is beyond ordinary mortals. We may still carry on but our faces are long and hearts not fully with it. Yet, in fact, we may have no great troubles, only the ordinary upsets and disappointments of everybody everyday. And yet that man is sad everyday, that young woman seldom smiles. That is a disease of the soul. As St Francis de Sales said: “A sad saint is a sorry saint.”

Just a few years ago, a certain priest’s name was added to the list of saints, Padre Pio. Even as a young man he had been given a strange and special blessing by God: the wounds of Christ marked on his body, wounds, holes in his hands in his feet, in his side, real bleeding, paining wounds. On the other hand, if we get the slightest pain, we rush off to get treatment, to take a painkiller, to see a doctor. We complain if we don’t recover quickly. But Padre Pio was actually glad to be like Jesus. He was glad to suffer even all his life long and be like Jesus in his sufferings.

Saving Help
We know that when people are very close, one can feel the trouble of the other: twins, deep friends, a mother and child. The pain or loss of one affects the other. For a Christian who loves the Lord much, it is the same. The loving disciple will rejoice to be like Jesus even in his sufferings. So we who have come today, faithful friends of the Lord, are we going to be complaining so much when anything goes wrong. Paul says: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church” (Col 1:24). Or as he tells us today: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” That is just what the Lord is telling us today: Rejoice, give thanks in all circumstances. I am close by. My strength, my Spirit will be upon you, my help will always be at hand. Don’t be anxious, I myself am coming to save you.

*Adapted from: “Bible Study and Sharing on the Gospel of Matthew for Christian Communities”, by Richard Baawobr M.Afr — Paulines Publications Africa, 2016.