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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 3:1-10): Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o'clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, «Look at us». He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, «I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk». Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.
Responsorial Psalm: 104
R/. Rejoice, o hearts that seek the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds.

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord! Look to the Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.

You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the Lord, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail.

He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 117:24): Alleluia. This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 24,13-35): Two disciples of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and wondering, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were held and they did not recognize him.

He asked, «What is this you are talking about?». The two stood still, looking sad. Then one named Cleophas answered, «Why, it seems you are the only traveller in Jerusalem who doesn't know what has happened there these past few days». And he asked, «What is it?». They replied, «It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet, you know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced him to death. They handed him over to be crucified. We had hoped that he would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place. It is true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find his body; they came to tell us that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that Jesus was alive. Some friends of our group went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not see him». He said to them, «How dull you are, how slow of understanding! You fail to believe the message of the prophets. Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this and then enter his glory?». Then starting with Moses and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon him, «Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over». So he went in to stay with them. When they were at table, he took the bread, said a blessing, broke it and gave each a piece. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to each other, «Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?».

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words: «Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!». Then the two told what had happened on the road and how Jesus made himself known when he broke bread with them.

«Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?»

Fr. Luis PERALTA Hidalgo SDB (Lisboa, Portugal)

Today we are reassured by the Gospel that Jesus is alive and continues to be the center around which the disciples' community is built. The gathering of the community, the dialog with brothers and sisters who share the same faith, the reading of the Word of God, the love shared and expressed through fraternity and service, is precisely the ecclesial context in which the disciples can encounter the Resurrected.

The disciples filled with grief, couldn't even imagine that that stranger was in fact their Master, now resurrected. But they felt «an ardent yearning» in their hearts (cf. Lk 24:32), when He talked, «explaining» the Scriptures. The light of the Word softened their hearts and «their eyes were opened» (Lk 24:31).

The story of the disciples of Emmaus is useful as a guide to us in the long journey through a path of doubts, afflictions and sometimes even bitter disillusionments; the Divine traveler continues to be our companion who introduces us, by explaining the Scriptures, to the comprehension of God's mysteries. Upon the fulfillment of this encounter the light of the Word is followed by the light that emerges from the «Bread of Life», through which Christ fulfills perfectly His promise that He would be with us «always, until the end of the age» (Mt 28:20).

The Holy Father Benedict XVI explains that «The proclamation of the Lord's Resurrection lightens up the dark regions of the world in which we live».

«Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him»

Fr. Xavier PAGÉS i Castañer (Barcelona, Spain)

Today «is the day when the Lord has acted: Let us rejoice and be glad in it!» (Ps 117:24). This is how we are invited to say the liturgy of these days of the Octave of Easter. Let us rejoice in knowing that today and forever the risen Jesus stands among us. He walks with us on the journey. But we must let him open our eyes of faith for us to realize He is present in our lives. He wants us to enjoy his company complying with what He said to us: «And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age» (Mt 28:20).

Let us walk in the hope we have, in the knowledge that the Lord will help us to find a meaning in everything. Particularly, when —as with the disciples at Emaus— we have to endure difficulties, setbacks, dejection... In front of the different events we should know how to listen to his Word, that will bring us to interpret them in the light of God's project of salvation. Even though, at times, wrongly, we may think He is not listening to us, He never forgets us; He always talks to us. We may, however, be lacking the good disposition necessary to listen, meditate and contemplate what He wants to say.

In the varied environment where we may live, we often find people living, in the ignorance of God, a meaningless life. Thus, it is convenient that we understand our responsibility to become useful tools for our Lord to be able, through us, to come close and walk along with those around us. Let us seek how to make them well aware of their condition of sons of God and of the fact that Jesus loves us so much that He not only died and rose for us, but also He decided to stay with us for ever in the Holy Eucharist. It was when He broke the bread that those disciples at Emaus realized it was Jesus who was sitting beside them.