Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/15/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Easter Wed. Acts 3:1-10. Psalm 105:1-2.3-4.6-7.8-9. Luke
24:13-25. Lectionary # 263:
Both readings give us the spirit of Easter and make us feel the joy
and hope of the witnesses of Jesus' resurrection. Acts is a beautiful
compliment to the Jesus of the Gospels especially that of Luke for it helps
us see the living Lord in the life of the new emerging Christian community
in Jerusalem and from there to the whole known world of that time. Today's
episode has some humorous joy in it when we see the response of the cripple
who is healed by Peter and John--"He went into the Temple with
them--walking, jumping about and praising God." Now that is an example of
the exhuberant joy and hope that Easter should bring to us. What entusiasm
on his part; what great confidence and trust (hope) in Peter and John that
they could continue to do what Jesus did on earth; even heal a cripple.
Emmaus is a small village not far from Jerusalem; certainly less than
ten miles. The two who are heading toward it on this day, probably a
Monday, the second day in the Hebrew calendar of Jesus' time. This
narrative is possibly the most developed and exquisite of the many variant
apparitions of the Risen Lord. Jesus is catching up with the two who are
walking back to Jerusalem; they may be a married couple for all we know.
As the "stranger" joins them they have no clue that it is Jesus. He walks
with them and starts to ask them why they seem so sad. They relate the
story of what was happening in Jerusalem these past days and how Jesus had
died on the cross; they were hoping for something more than that from him.
Their guest then starts to show them how the Scriptures point to the
Messiah and how the Messiah would fulfill them. He unravels some of the
prophecies for them and then listens to how they say women have mentioned
that the stone in front of Jesus' tomb was moved and how the tomb was
empty. Some even said they saw him. Jesus takes them back again into the
Scriptures and even starts with the prophet Moses in the Torah and moves on
through the Prophets, the Psalms, the Writings. "Then he said to them,
"What little sense you have! How slow to believe all that the prophets have
announced.! Did not the Messiah have to undergo all this so as to enter
into his glory?" Their hearts started to warm up with hope as he continued
to speak. They could not let this stranger go without offering him some
hospitality. They pressed him and gave us one of the most touching
expressions of desire in the Bible: "Stay with us. It is nearly
evening--the day is practically over." This is especially helpful for those
who are aging. It offers them a "soldier's night prayer"--that is, a very
short but powerful night prayer for those in assisted living quarters and
nursing homes. And Jesus did go and stay with them.
Then he sat down took bread, broke it and blessed it. All of a
sudden they remembered what he had done on the night before his death and
they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. As we reflect on this
narrative we see that it is a real live historical experience of what we do
when we share and participate in the liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist.
We experience the living Christ speaking to us as a community and as
individuals. Are hearts then burn within us for we realize that Christ is
alive and well among us. Amen.
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