Sunday 26th April – Third Sunday of Easter
you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:
strengthen us to proclaim your risen life
and fill us with your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.
Acts 2.14a, 36-41
On the day of Pentecost, Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd, ‘Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that our sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who
welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added to their number.
On that same day, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’
They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ Jesus asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over 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 these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed 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 they did not see Jesus.’
Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. . When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Post Communion Prayer
your Son made himself known to his disciples
in the breaking of bread:
open the eyes of our faith,
that we may see him in all his redeeming work;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
Easter 3 – Reflection 2020
I have a confession to make and it is simply this – the reading from St Luke’s Gospel, sometimes known as the walk to Emmaus, is probably my favourite passage of scripture.
Some scholars would argue that the walk to Emmaus never actually happened and they may be right. To get too bound up in this argument is again to miss the point of the story because “Emmaus is always happening.” I make that claim because the walk to Emmaus sums up for me, at least, in a rather beautiful
way, the essence of Christian ministry and that is something to which we are all called.
We have two disciples, broken men with their hopes dashed and so wrapped up in despair and sorrow – so little expecting or looking for God. And a stranger draws alongside them, but notice how he doesn’t pitch in and start telling them all about himself or talking at them? No, he holds back and he listens and he
listens for a long time all the way to Emmaus, in fact. The stranger listens to the disciples – to their story. And when they reach Emmaus they invite him in. And at table what does he do? He breaks bread with them, just as he did at the Last Supper a few days before. And it is in this simple act that the disciples
recognise Jesus. That moment is for them transformative.
It is a great privilege for me to preside at the Eucharist and break bread with you here in this benefice – this Eucharistic community, this Mission Community. Although we can’t be together at the moment, I continue to celebrate the Eucharist for you on Sundays. And it is in that moment of breaking bread that I
look at the wafer and I see that it is broken in two – just like the veil of the Temple on Good Friday really. And I’m powerfully reminded that in our brokenness, we are held in God’s love and Christ draws alongside us just as he did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
But it doesn’t end there because it is in our brokenness that we are called as disciples of Christ to reach out to others in their brokenness. We are called to meet on the road with the poor, the despairing, the sick and those in any kind of need.
We are called to declare our solidarity with them
We are called to see the Spirit of God within them
We are called to walk with them and work and speak for them.
As Christ walked the Road to Emmaus, so we are called to walk alongside the defeated and despairing and offer them life and hope and the Good News of the Gospel. As Christ was recognized on the Emmaus Road, so may we make Christ known at our point of solidarity with the despairing and those in need by
drawing alongside them, by listening to them and by our sharing of bread.
Emmaus was not a one off event! It happens daily in parishes up and down the country and throughout the world. Through us, others recognise Christ and he is able to draw alongside them. Christ saw the pain and despair of those on the road with him – and he was there for them. He calls us to do likewise.