Fr Vincent's reflections on the 3rd Sunday of the Easter Season.
As the disciples traveled to Emmaus feeling lost and downcast, Jesus came to them and offered them an understanding of the Scriptures which inflamed their hearts so they could recognize His presence. We pray this will be our experience, too.
watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 3rd Sunday of the Easter Season.
Read the reflections here:
Third Sunday of Easter Season Message 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our
Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
Before going further, I want to thank Fr. Alec for his Divine Mercy Sunday reflection. We all want to experience that Trust in Jesus and the Mercy which flows from Divine Love. Yet, Fr. Alec’s invitation to offer the Divine Mercy Chaplet for a needy soul, even someone I might not know, brought a joy to my praying the Chaplet – I could feel something of sharing God’s merciful love with our world today in so much need! Thank you, Fr. Alec for your faith and guidance!
As we gather to reflect and pray on this Third Sunday of Easter, we offer together the Opening Prayer of today’s Mass:
Let us pray:
May your people exult for ever, O God,
in renewed youthfulness of spirit,
so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption,
we may look forward in confident hope
to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
We will be reading the Gospel of the Third Sunday of Easter – the Emmaus story from St. Luke’s Gospel. But, I want you to have your own Bible for this reading, so please pause the video to get your Bible. When you have it, turn the video back on.
- Don’t take a short cut. I asked you to pause this and get your Bible, so do it, and I will wait.
That’s better! Of course, there are those more hard-headed than your priest who are thinking they don’t need their Bible. Maybe they are thinking they can’t find it. Oh well . . .
Please follow along – Luke 24: 13-35 – and you can sit comfortable while we read. By the way, if the words in your Bible are different, still follow along, please.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
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.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
We all know the Emmaus story. We hear it every year on this Third Sunday of Easter. However, this year I find the story strikes a particular cord in my own spiritual-emotional state. Even as a priest, knowing the truth of the Gospels and having experienced in many ways the “realness” of God the Father, Jesus my Savior, and the Holy Spirit, I still find myself emotionally downcast and unable to recognize the presence of Jesus with me. Maybe many of you as this “Stay-At-Home” situation drags on are struggling with life and likewise with faith. The knowledge of our spirituality and the emotional stress we feel don’t line up. And because emotions are more often stronger than knowledge, those feelings make us doubt the truth we have learned. This is the condition of the two disciples walking to Emmaus; this is my condition, I must admit, and so, it might be your condition as well. What do we do?
This is why I stressed, even a bit playfully, the need to get your Bible and hold it. That’s where we start – hold your Bible. Touch it; feel the weight in your hands. Think about what you are holding: the revealed word of God, the spiritual history of humanity from Creation to the completion of God’s Plan of Salvation in Jesus Christ. And Book of Revelation brings us to the final moment of creation’s reunion with heaven! You are holding God’s visible, tangible sign of eternal love for you, for me, and for every person who has ever lived and will ever live. Stop taking it for granted. This is as real a sign of God as every news cast can be a sign of desperation. This has as many good ideas for a positive life as your or my imagination can come up with dismal ideas which cause doubts to grow. And this is before reading a single word!
Jesus was not visible to the disciples on the road to Emmaus because they were consumed by their grief and fear. I’ve been there – so worried about “what am I going to do if . . . “ that I fail to look around me and see what is all really there! I can even hear Jesus speaking in my head (so to say), but I allow my broken heart to drown out His reassurance. I need something to touch and something to drag me out of myself into the light of day. Jesus’ words were blunt with the disciples: “how foolish you are!” Sometimes we need him to be blunt with us – “get over yourself!” So hold the Bible, then be willing to open it up!
The First Readings for the Masses during the Easter Season basically come from the Acts of the Apostles. Not to say that the Easter Gospels are not important, but I am encouraging us to read the Acts of the Apostles this Easter Season. Why? Because it is the story of the Church without the physical presence of Jesus! There were the gatherings for Mass, but most of the story recorded is about how the disciples and the early Church had to live faith without Jesus being seen and touched and heard. And they did great things moved by the Holy Spirit. This is what we all need right now: to know that Jesus is here, invisible, but still here, with us. The Acts can be read like an epic novel, reading short story by short story, letting the individual stories build on each other to offer a complete picture of what it means to be part of the Church.
So, each day, start by picking up your Bible and holding it for a while, coming to understand the preciousness of God’s gift of love and presence through this book. It is for you and me a visible, touchable reminder that God has not left us alone, regardless of what my emotions try to tell me!
Then, when you remember the love of God is personal, start reading from the Acts, no more than a story a day, maybe a chapter or so. Follow the stories more than the verses. Connect to the characters and their responses of faith and perseverance with an invisible God. This has helped me reconnect and find spiritual strength in this difficult and emotionally stressful time. My prayer is that Jesus will help you get out of yourself and find his presence with you through the Scriptures. We all long for that return to worship and Mass, but until then, there is much we can do to stay connected to God, faith, and Church.
God bless you all.
Before the final blessing, there is much news these days about the “restarting” of the economy and the lightening up of the “stay at home” order. Honestly, I cannot yet predict when or how Church will be reopen. No matter when you are watching this, it is being recorded on Thursday, April 23rd, and I cannot know what will be said by the Governor on Monday, April 27th. As I receive directions from Bishop Duca for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, I will get those decisions out as fast as possible. Please remember, what happens next door in the Archdiocese of New Orleans does not mean the same thing can happen here. Please know I want the Church open as soon as possible and all of you back in Church for regular Masses as soon as possible. I just cannot predict when that will come to pass!
Please remember to check the Parish Website daily for updates – be sure to look at the date on the update as well because things come out at different times and can change from moment to moment. I hope to keep confusion down to a minimum!
And now, I would like to offer you the Easter Blessing:
May God, who by the Resurrection of his Only Begotten Son
was pleased to confer on you
the gift of redemption and of adoption
give you gladness by his blessing. R/. Amen.
May he, by whose redeeming work
you have received the gift of everlasting freedom,
make you heirs to an eternal inheritance. R/. Amen.
And may you, who have already risen with Christ
in Baptism through faith,
by living in a right manner on this earth,
be united with him in the homeland of heaven. R/. Amen.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.
Live in the peace of Christ, Alleluia, Alleluia!
R/. Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia!