The Bishops Homily – 3rd Sunday of Easter

3rd Sunday Of Easter
Acts 2: 14; 22-33
I Pet. 1: 17-21
Lk. 24: 13-35

INTRODUCTION: Our Gospel this Sunday is about Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Why does the Church keep going back to this story after 2000 years? This event happened on the very same day of the Resurrection — Sunday, the first day of the week when God re-created the whole creation again.

(1) Two disciples were going to Emmaus away from Jerusalem. Everything in Luke’s Gospel gravitate around Jerusalem. According to scholars, Emmaus was a Roman garrison, so a rival center of worldly power of arms and guns. Real power is the power of self-forgetting love. It is clear that the two disciples were going the wrong way. Even if they are going the wrong way, Jesus joins them along the way. The whole of the Bible is not man searching for God but God searching for man, even when we are going the wrong way. The disciples did not recognize him because they were walking the wrong way. The way we speak and act has a lot to do with the way we live. “What are you discussing along the way?” asked Jesus.

(2) One of them, Cleopas, answered him: “About Jesus of Nazareth who was a great prophet. . . The chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: . . . some women from our group have astounded us . . . to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive.” The disciples recounted what they knew about Jesus. They got all the details and had all the facts and data about Jesus. But they don’t get the pattern that brings all of the data together and makes them one coherent whole. These disciples are like those who hear a joke but don’t get it and thus don’t laugh or like one who reads a novel and is lost in the many characters and misses the point of the novel. That is why Jesus calls them “How foolish and so slow to believe the full message of the prophets. Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?” This is the key that makes Jesus understandable. The path of God is the path of suffering love. There is no love without sacrifice. The only one thing that finally teaches one in life is suffering.

(3) Now Jesus gives a “hermeneutical interpretation” of the pattern from his own life which now reveals the whole of the Old Testament. We do not fully know the prophets, even the Genesis or Exodus, Moses and David until we see these under the lens of Christ. At this point the hearts of these disciples were burning. “While he was with them at table for supper, he took the bread; said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them.” Jesus does the great Eucharistic act which is the sacramental presentation of the pattern of suffering love. At this point, their eyes were opened. They begin to see him as he interprets the Scriptures to them but they fully see his pattern of suffering love at Mass. At both parts of the Mass — the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist — Jesus explains and reaches out!

CONCLUSION: The road to Emmaus is our own story too! Despite our walking away from the right path and wallowing in our inconsistencies, the disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and converted themselves to renew and pursue the path of suffering love. That is why the Mass is the source and summit of Christian life!
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches