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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 3rd (A) of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 2:14.22-33): Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: «You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.

»But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. For David says of him: I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.

»My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured him forth, as you see and hear».
Responsorial Psalm: 15
R/. Lord, you will show us the path of life.
Keep me, o God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the LORD, «My Lord are you». O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
2nd Reading (1Pt 1:17-21): Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb. He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Lk 24:32): Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us.
Gospel text (Lk 24,13-35): That very same day, the first day after the sabbath, two of them 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.

«That very same day, the first day after the sabbath»

Fr, Jaume GONZÁLEZ i Padrós (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we start proclaiming the Gospel with the expression: «That very same day after the sabbath» (Lk 24:13). Yes, the day after Sabbath, Sunday. Easter —it has been said— is like a great Sunday lasting fifty days. O, if we would only knew how important this day is for our life as Christians! «There are reasons to say, as suggested in the homily of an author of the 4th century (Eusebius of Alexandria), that the ‘the holy day of Sunday is the commemoration of the Lord. It is called the Lord's because it is the Lord of all days’ (...). This is, in fact, for all Christians a “paramount holiday”» (St. John Paul II). For us Sunday should be the motherly embrace, cradle, delectation, home and also missionary halitus. O, if we could only have a glimpse of the depth and poetry it may transmit! We could then affirm, along with those martyrs of the first centuries: «We cannot live without the Sunday».

But when the Lord's day loses its importance in our existence the “Lord of all days” also evanesces, and we become so pragmatic and “earnest” that we only accord any credit to our projects and foresight, to our plans and strategies; then, even the very freedom God behaves with, can be a motive of trouble and withdrawal. By ignoring the amazement we close ourselves off from the most luminous manifestation of God's glory, and everything becomes an evening of disappointment, prelude of an endless night, when life seems doomed to perennial insomnia.

But, the Gospel proclaimed in the middle of Sunday gatherings, is always an angelic announcement of a refulgence addressed to minds and hearts so foolish and slow to believe (cf. Lk 24:25), and, accordingly, it is a soft one, not stunning, as otherwise, rather than throwing light upon us it would dazzle us. It is the Resurrected Life the Holy Spirit transmits us with the Word and broken Bread, while respecting our treading made out of not always properly oriented short steps.

Every Sunday we recollect that Jesus «went in to stay with them» (Lk 24:29), with us. Have you recognized Him, today, you Christian?