April 3, 2013

The Gospel for Today

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Lk. 24: 13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “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?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Reflection (Sem. Nelson Maningas)

Have you experienced moments when you felt as if God were dead and that He was not doing anything to help you in your problems? Instead one problem comes after another, and you experienced disappointments and felt you were being taken for granted.  This perhaps is similar to what the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had experienced. They felt depressed for the Master they were following; the One whom they believed was the Son of God died and yet they learned that His body was missing. Perhaps they began to lose hope and doubted their faith in Him. Was God really not doing anything during those times when we felt as if He were dead? Of course He is not dead! He is very much alive that is why we celebrate Easter. Like what Jesus has told the two disciples, He can be saying to us now, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of hearts to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” We may be too focused on the comfort of following God and have denied that we, too, must endure suffering to enter into God’s glory; for there can be no other way to enter it than by the way of the Cross. That is why when we feel down and troubled, we see that God is not doing anything, as if He is dead, but we may be the one who is dead. We are dead, because for us to follow Christ, yet to be wealthy and happy the way the world sees what happiness is, we cannot find joy in the cross, which the world hates most. We must not forget that we are Christians and that entails that we experience what Christ has endured. There is glory in Easter because Christ endured the pains and suffering of Good Friday. There can only be life eternal if we let ourselves die first.

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