The Third Sunday of Easter; Year A (5/4/2014)
Lessons:Acts 2:14a, 36-41 Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 1st Peter 1:17-23 St. Luke 24:13-35
Prayer of the Day: O God, your Son makes himself known to all his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
24:13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then 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?” 19 He 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, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 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. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 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. 24 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 him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 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. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They 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?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
St. Luke 24:13-35, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America).
Made Known in the Breaking of the Bread
In our theological tradition, we talk about God as One who chooses to be revealed to us. The two Latin phrases we use to describe this are Deus Absconditus (God who is hidden from us) and Deus Revelatus (God who is revealed to us). In part, what this means is there is much more about God than has ever been revealed to us, and we are fortunate to know what we know about God (because if God hadn’t chosen to be revealed to us, we wouldn’t even know this much).
One way to view the Scriptures is to consider them as a record of God being revealed to us, from creation and flood, through the promise to Abraham and his descendants, the history of Israel, and the witness of the prophets. Christians believe, of course, that God has been most fully revealed to us in Jesus Christ. This is one of the reasons we stand for the reading of the Gospel lesson each morning. In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, God becomes revealed to us in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
The reveling of God to us is not limited to the books of the Bible, though. St. Luke points out, in this weekend’s Gospel lesson, one of the ways this is true. He describes two followers of Jesus: Cleopas and his traveling companion (friend, co-worker, spouse?). On the day of the resurrection (although they don’t seem to know it as such), they are deeply saddened at the loss of their Lord and teacher, so they decide to leave Jerusalem. On their way to Emmaus, a small village about seven miles from Jerusalem, Jesus falls into step with them (although, again, they don’t seem to know that this is him). Along they way, he teaches them how the events of the past week and months follow naturally from what they know of the Hebrew Bible and its message. It is an eye-opening experience for them, and they persuade him to stop with them in Emmaus for dinner.
Their eyes are opened even further at the table. In clearly Eucharistic language Jesus takes bread, blesses bread and distributes bread. St. Luke reports, “Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him…” Jesus vanishes, they race back to Jerusalem, and they report to the others that “He had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
Made known to them in the breaking of the bread. True at the Last Supper. True in the feasting of the early church. True at the table today. Made known to them, and to us, in sacrificial love. Made known to them, and to us, in radical grace. Made known to them, and to us, as his followers are strengthened to serve in this world. Made known to them, and to us, as the mystery of faith is lived out in community. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. Indeed, he will.
This weekend, as Christians throughout the world gather around the table, may we meet him in the breaking of the bread. And may he strengthen us for lives of service and love.
David J. Risendal, Pastor
Exploring This Week’s Gospel:
- How is God revealed to the followers of Jesus during his earthly lifetime?
- Where do the disciples turn to better understand how God is revealed in Jesus?
- How does their knowledge of God grow as they study and pray and learn?
Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:
- What have I come to know about God?
- In what ways has God chosen to be revealed to me?
- Where do I turn, in order to grow in my knowledge and love of God?