30 April 20173 Easter

Homily from Father James Gilhooley
3 Easter
Third Sunday of Easter - A Cycle - Luke 24:13-35

In one year, 150,000 Americans were received into the Church at the Easter Vigil alone. Many found the Church by themselves. After his Baptism, one said to the priest, "How strange you Catholics withhold from the world the best news that ever came into it." Rembrandt was so carried away by Emmaus that he gave us three different paintings of the meal. The New Yorker magazine writes that for Rembrandt the sacrifice of Jesus is equal to a bomb dropping into history and blowing everything askew. This Gospel is one of the immortal short stories of history. Only Luke tells this story. Mark refers to it in a teasing one liner. (William Barclay) Early Sunday AM, two disciples from the B team are walking the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. (Today three villages claim to be Emmaus.) It is two days since their Leader had been mugged and murdered. They had to be young. When was the last time you walked seven miles in three digit heat? For centuries, Emmaus was considered a village. Some, however, speculate it was a Roman army barracks. So, these two Jews were employed there in a modest capacity. Possibly they were husband and wife. But, whoever they were, they were not happy campers. Supporting actors though they might be, they merit space in the Guinness Book of World Records.

They are among the first people mentioned in the Gospels as members of the Church. They had waited around for the Resurrection, but they came up empty. Events would establish they had left Jerusalem too soon. They had closed the book before reading the last chapter. (Arthur Tonne) They were heading back to work making beds, emptying slop buckets, and eating army chow. They had lost their faith. The whole Jesus thing was a noisy fraud. They were losers. They were going back to lives of noisy desperation. A stranger appeared. They did not recognize their former Employer. Presumably they were looking at a glorified body. Jesus, tongue deep in cheek, asks, "What's new, guys?" They respond with shock, "Mister, are you the only one in Jerusalem not reading the newspapers and watching TV?" So, they bring the resurrected Lord up to speed. The reaction of Jesus is machine gun quick. "You people must have room temperature IQs.

Do I have to explain everything to you sixteen times?" Here, folks, is a fresh dimension of Christ that we should dwell on. He doesn't suffer fools gladly. He does not get His laughs from drawing the same picture. There are times He plays hard ball. We should get our respective acts together. It's later than we think. Jesus puts this husband and wife in the picture. And Luke is emphasizing the ability of the Lord to make sense of muddy situations. (Barclay) Emmaus is in the immediate distance. Jesus pushes on, "Adios." "Lord, abide with us. Fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens. With us abide." (Henry Lyte) It was not dusk. But they were so enchanted by the stranger they resorted to hyperbole to keep Him. How charming they must have found Him.

He was waiting for their invitation. The Lord always knocks and waits. Once invited, He RSVPs immediately. We should be so gracious to hosts. Both the icebox and freezer were empty in their condo. So, one went off to the supermarket for cold cuts and bread. If they were married, do you want to guess who went? Their depression had lifted without medication. The record shows that the Christ has that impact on those smart enough to take Him at His word. The Lord takes charge. The guest becomes the host. The hosts become His guests. "He took the bread and said the blessing." Are we talking about the Eucharist? Possibly. We do not know. You know of course how the story ends. They recognized Him. How? Perhaps the nail marks in His Hands.

Perhaps the way He broke the bread. In any event, He disappears into the woodwork. They rush out and rent an Avis Rent-a-Donkey for the trip back to the central office in Jerusalem. Chairman Peter must know of this. They didn't take time to put the dishes into the GE washer. What is Luke telling us? The foxy missionary is e-mailing us that the Resurrection is news that must be told immediately to everyone. So, when people stop you today and ask what's new, advise them Jesus has risen just as He said. Remember the convert who had to find Jesus on his own, "Christ, said the monk, "is meant to be bread for daily use and not cake for parties. So, live today as though Christ died yesterday, arose this morning, and is coming back tomorrow." 
Homily from Father Joseph Pellegrino
3 Easter
Third Sunday of Easter: Word and Sacrament

Recently I was on a little trip and ended up seated next to a fine gentleman. He asked me my profession, and I told him that I was a Catholic priest. After a while, he told me that he was feeling guilty over something that he had done during a Catholic Mass he was invited to attend about five years ago. He, obviously, was not Catholic himself. Anyway, he said that he just did what everyone else was doing and when everyone started moving to the front he joined in and, he said, "I got one of those wafers.” Well, I explained to him that for us Catholics, these are not just wafers but a real presence of Jesus Christ, and that the reason why we do not allow non Catholics to receive is that receiving communion demands a belief in the Eucharist as we Catholics believe. I certainly could have said a lot more, such as the reverence we give to the Eucharist, but he got the point and really felt bad about doing something that he knows now was wrong. So I told him that he certainly didn't mean to do anything wrong and that we Catholics need to do a better job explaining our services when we invite non-Catholics to join us at Mass.

I was thinking about this as I considered that Gospel for this Sunday on the meeting of our Lord with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. How much the Eucharist meant to those disciples! First, Jesus spoke to them, and then he broke the bread as he did during at the Last Supper. They said that their hearts were on fire when he explained Scripture to them, but they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. Jesus gave two gifts to these disciples, the gift of understanding the new significance of the Word of God, and the gift of the Eucharist. I want to consider briefly each of these gifts. I am sure that all of your homes have bibles. But do check to be certain that you own a Catholic Bible. This is important because the Catholic Bible includes books such as Wisdom, Sirach and Tobit which are not found in the non-Catholic bibles. Every home with little children should also have a children's bible, or at least a book with bible stories for children.

We should read our bibles, study our bibles, but the most important thing we should do is pray with our bibles. Instead of being all bogged down with footnotes and various interpretations, we should read a passage and just ask ourselves, "What is this saying to me?" Scripture is living, effective, a two-edged sword, cutting deeply into each of us. We need to talk to the Lord about what we read in the Bible. We should pray. And, perhaps, when we realize that God is speaking to us through the Word, our hearts will also be on fire like the hearts of the disciples on road to Emmaus. It is important that we have bibles, and pray with our bibles, but we have been given a gift that is greater than even our bibles. We have been given the gift of the Eucharist.

We have been given the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. When we receive communion, we are united to Jesus offering Himself as the Eternal Sacrifice on the Cross and filling us with the Eternal Life of the Resurrection. I find it very sad that in the history of the Church, attacks on Roman Catholicism have always included attacks on the Eucharist. The Church of the Sixteenth century certainly needed to be reformed, and was reformed at the Council of Trent. But the initial reformers very quickly took it on themselves to eliminate the Mass, eliminate Holy Orders, and eliminate the Eucharist. The Gift that Jesus spoke of in John 6, the gift that was the focus of the Last Supper, the gift that had been fundamental to the practice of the faith from the very beginning of the Church was mocked. In some places, such as in England, any priest caught saying a Mass was killed in a most brutal way. The persecution of the Catholic Church by attacking the Eucharist continues in our own times.

It was not that many years ago that the Catholic belief in the Eucharist was attacked right here in Pinellas County by members of one of the leading secular charities. It is also sad that so many of our Catholic families have not placed a great value on their own reception of the Eucharist. I know that I am preaching to the choir here. You are in Church because you want to receive Communion this morning. You value taking Jesus within yourself. But this is not the case in many Catholics who say that they pray, which is good, but who deprive themselves and, worse, their children, the greatest gift of prayer there is, union with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Why is it that people withdraw from a regular reception of the Eucharist? That is a hard question to answer. Part of it might be a matter of priorities: Mass is not as important to some people as their children's sports or other activities, even though there are plenty of opportunities to attend Mass other than Sunday mornings.

Or maybe some families just fall out of the habit of attending Mass every week. This is particularly evident when the school ends and the family's schedule changes. But I fear that there is another reason that is the same both for those who attack the Eucharist and for those who believe in the Real Presence but do not receive regularly. And that reason is that to understand the significance of the Eucharist, a person needs to be open to the mystical. Our modern world has a difficult time dealing with the concept of mystery. It thinks that everything either has an explanation, or it doesn't exist.

As a result the world deprives itself of that which is beyond the imagination of man. It deprives itself of the ability to be one with God in the Eucharist. It deprives itself of the joy of recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread. Some of our families consider the reception of the Eucharist just as something that they do, equating it with every action they perform in Church. They don't realize that receiving the Eucharist is entering an encounter with the Lord. It is something that Jesus does. Reception of the Eucharist is an encounter with mystery, a mystical encounter with Jesus Christ. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were open to mystery. They had heard that something had happened after the crucifixion. They talked about their hope in this Jesus of Nazareth. They were open to the mysterious stranger's explanation of scripture. And then they were open to recognizing the Lord in the Breaking of the Bread. Last week our readings called us to faith. This week we are called into mystery. We are called to come to a deeper appreciation and reverence for the wonders our Savior has provided for us in the Breaking of the Bread.
Homily from Father Phil Bloom
* Available in Spanish - see Spanish Homilies
3 Easter
Life in Christ Week 3: Walk with Jesus (April 30, 2017)

Message: The Bible and the Eucharist sustain us; the pope and bishops keep us from meandering and getting lost. At the end of the homily I will introduce our 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal witness speaker. The Appeal connects with our Easter theme: Life in Christ. Life in Christ as we have seen so far means listening to God, opening ourselves to the abundance of his mercy and his Word. Today we focus on Life in Christ as a walk with Jesus. In the Gospel we see two disciples walking to a village called Emmaus. They feel discouraged, even heartbroken because of Jesus' death. A stranger, a pilgrim, joins them.

Like us they do not recognize the presence of Jesus, yet he walks with them. The walk with Jesus involves the Scriptures. Last week I invited you to my Take the Plunge Bible Study. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus our hearts will burn within us. Like them we will see how Jesus fulfills the Jewish prophecies, psalms and history. But there's more, much more. When they invite the pilgrim into their home, he takes bread, says the blessing, breaks and gives it to them. They then recognize Jesus. He disappears from sight because of his true presence now in the Eucharist, the Mass.

So Word and Sacrament; the Bible and the Mass - both are essential to our walk with Jesus. And the Gospel shows another detail. The two disciples run back to the Apostles. They hear, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon." In our walk with Jesus we need Simon Peter and the Apostles. For us today that means the pope and bishops. In our Parish Mission we say, "Blessed to live in this beautiful valley, we are Christians in union with Pope Francis and Archbishop Sartain..." Our walk with Jesus includes union with the pope and bishops. With that in mind I introduce the witness speak for the Annual Catholic Appeal. It supports the Archbishop and all the ministries he supervises. The Bible and the Eucharist sustain us; the pope and bishops keep us from meandering and getting lost. So this Annual Appeal is part of our walk with Jesus. With that in mind I ask you to now give full attention to ________________.
Homily from Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe,Pa
Saint Vincent Archabbey
3 Easter
Third Sunday of Easter, Classic Luke 24: 13-35

Gospel Summary
Two disciples on the road to a village called Emmaus meet a stranger and proceed to discuss with him what happened to Jesus of Nazareth a few days before. This Jesus was executed by Roman soldiers. Now there are rumors that he is alive. The stranger then explains to them how all of Scripture points to the Messiah, and how the Messiah had to suffer before entering into glory. As they are about to go their separate ways upon reaching the village, the two disciples in a gesture of hospitality urge the stranger to dine with them. At table, the stranger takes bread, says a blessing, breaks the bread and offers it to them. In that familiar ritual they recognize that the stranger is Jesus. Jesus then vanishes in their sight. When the disciples return to Jerusalem, they explain to the other disciples how they met a stranger on the road, and how they recognized him as the Lord in the breaking of the bread. Life Implications Luke’s Emmaus gospel is a beautiful, theological dramatization of one of the encounters with the Risen Lord during those wonder-filled days after the discovery of the empty tomb (Mk 16: 12-13).

This passage has a purpose different from the proof-pattern accounts whose intent is to demonstrate that the Lord is truly real in a new spiritual way, yet is the same Jesus the disciples had known before his death. This gospel of the encounter of the two disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread is a story of friendship. The Risen Lord is a friend who talks with them as they walk, a friend who shares a meal with them. Luke describes an intimate, personal encounter marked by tenderness and hospitality. We are reminded of the same tender quality of friendship in the meeting of Jesus and Mary of Magdala on the day of the resurrection. Here we have the drama of Mary by the empty tomb, weeping with the love she had for Jesus.

The climax is reached at the moment of recognition when Jesus says to her, "Mary!" (Jn 20:11-17). The life implication of the Emmaus gospel is good news spoken to our hearts: Jesus, now freed from the space-time limits of his earthly life, is present in our midst and wants to be our friend. It is the Lord who speaks to us in the reading of Scripture. It is the Lord we speak to in prayer. It is the Lord we join in giving thanks to the Father. It is the Lord who gives himself to us in the breaking of the bread. The Lord is with us. We who enjoy the gift of friendship with Jesus ought to tell others about it, just as the two disciples did when they returned to Jerusalem. Everyone is invited to share in that divine-human friendship. The Lord asks us to extend hospitality to the strangers we meet on the road, inviting them to share not only the bread of heaven, but the daily bread of earth which the Father intends for all to share. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B.

Third Sunday of Easter, Modern Sunday,
April 30, 2017 Gospel—Luke 24; 13 - 35

The Church celebrates Easter for fifty days, with the fiftieth day being Pentecost. During these first weeks of Easter we hear the various accounts of the Resurrection and the appearances of our Risen Lord to the Apostles and Disciples. Easter Sunday began, not as a day of joy, but a continuation of the mourning over the death of Jesus. We heard on Easter and last Sunday how the Apostles came to experience the presence of the Risen Lord, and for those like Thomas it took a while for the reality of the Resurrection to sink in.

Their joy and alleluias began when they realized that Jesus was no longer dead, but was Risen and truly alive. We still have thirty-six days to go in our Easter Season, and hopefully when we celebrate Pentecost the joy of Easter will continue to deepen our faith for the rest of our lives. The Gospel for this weekend continues the accounts of what the apostles and disciples experienced on that first Easter. The two disciples left Jerusalem for Emmaus gave the Impression that after the Passion and Death of the Lord, and even after they had heard of the empty tomb, they were going home to return to business as usual. They encounter the Risen Lord and in response to his question tell him of the faith they had in Jesus, their hope that he was the Messiah, and the disappointment in his death. They even mention to him that there was a report that morning of the empty tomb and that Jesus had appeared to some of the followers. It seems that they did not yet believe that Jesus is Risen and chose to go home sad and heavy hearts. Jesus responds by going back to Moses and the prophets and explain to them all that pertained to him.

Their eyes were still closed to recognize that this man who was teaching them, was himself the Jesus. In an act of kindness and appreciation they invite him to eat with them, and their eyes are opened when Jesus breaks bread, and vanishes from their sight. For these two disciples it was Sunday Evening when their Easter began. They were so filled with joy that they reversed directions, and in the midst of the tiredness of spending the day walking to Emmaus they ran all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the Apostles that they had seen the Lord. Have you seen the Lord? Has his presence filled you with such joy that you became renewed and re-energized in a way that you never expected would happen to you? This Gospel and the Easter Season is a good reminder to us that the Risen Lord is always with us.

He is walking with us during times of great joy, as well as in our darkest moments. At times we become so caught up and distracted with what’s happening in our lives that we fail to recognize his presence. Jesus doesn’t give up and leave us, he continues to walk with us. Sometimes we don’t realize his presence and how it is strengthening us, but it is. During the Easter Season, as we sing the joyful songs and Alleluias, pray that our eyes might be opened to recognize the presence of Jesus. May we may do this with a renewed appreciation for the gift of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. That as we gaze at the consecrated Host, we might see Jesus our Risen Lord. As we awake each morning may we see how he walks with us throughout each day. Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.
Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS
3 Easter
Third Sunday of Easter Homily by Father Alex McAllister SDS

I hear myself so often from this lectern saying that this or that Gospel reading is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. But surely today's story of the disciples going to Emmaus must be in the Scriptural Top Ten. So many of my friends tell me that it is their favourite reading and I certainly would include it in my own list of Desert Island Bible Stories. Why? Because it is such a human story, and it is about one of the greatest mysteries we know, the encounter with the risen Lord in the Eucharist. It tells us the about this great sacrament we celebrate here each day. One writer I know reckons that because it says in the text that there were two disciples but only one name is given ‘Cleopas', the other disciple must have been his wife. He says that this could be the same Cleopas mentioned in John 19:25 where it gives the names of those who stood at the foot of the Cross and speaks about Mary the wife of Cleopas. If this scripture scholar is correct then I think it gives a wonderful new dimension to the story.

The Eucharist is about sharing, there is no closer sharing of two people than in the sacrament of marriage. What a wonderful thing to have happened that the first celebration of the Eucharist after the Last Supper should by with the risen Lord himself together with a married couple. ‘He made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. "It is nearly evening” they said "and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.' Things were no different then to what they are now. It was not safe to continue a long journey on foot in the dark. It was too dangerous. So out of concern for their companion's welfare and because they were so engrossed in hearing what he had to say about the scriptures and how these made perfect sense of the events they had witnessed in Jerusalem they press him to stay with them. These are some of the details that give this Gospel story the ring of truth. We have no difficulty in seeing ourselves in the situation and doing the same sort of thing.

Two thousand years may have passed by but human nature remains the same. Jesus stays with them and enjoys their hospitality, and then during the meal he took ‘their' bread and broke it. This is another little detail which is worth drawing attention to. Jesus did not give them something, he took what they had given him. He said the blessing, broke it and gave it back to them. It is in this wonderful exchange of gifts that the Eucharist takes place. We get back what we give. You will notice how the same thing occurs in the mass. It reminds me of the story of the rich man going to heaven being shown the mansions in which the poor lived and who was very put out when shown the hovel he was expected to live in. St Peter said to him: ‘But we can only build with what you send on ahead.' Jesus only gives us what we give him, but he transforms it and becomes part of it.

We give him our time in prayer, we give him our tongue when we speak the truth, we give him our hands when we help the weak, we give him our feet when we visit the sick, we give him our minds when we study the Gospels, we give him so many things. And he blesses them and breaks them and returns them to us. But they are returned transformed. They have been broken which means that they bear the imprint of the Cross. But it also means that they have been shared. Our gifts to him are returned with a blessing. They bring blessings on us and on the whole Christian community. They help to make us one. You might say that these are nice pious thoughts, but don't mean much. Well, I'm telling you, you would be wrong. And I suggest that you open your eyes and look around you because this process of transformation is going on around you. Look along the pew and you will see people who are giving their lives to the Lord. And while you are seeing this in others, others are seeing this in you.

There is great work going on in the parish and it is the work of the Lord. He is in our midst, just as he was in the midst of those two disciples at Emmaus. And just as they were galvanised into action through their recognition of him in the Eucharist so are many people in this parish. For all their solicitude and anxiety that Jesus should not go travelling in the dark, as soon as those disciples realise who he was they set out that instant and now without regard to robbers, muggers or other dangers travelled back the seven miles to Jerusalem. It didn't seem so dark any more, it didn't seem so full of danger.

Their faith filled them with fearlessness, they had to tell the Apostles as soon as they could what had happened. So, they set out as it says ‘that instant' to bring the Good News to them. What a wonderful sense of urgency; they couldn't wait till the safety of daylight, robbers, muggers, wild animals didn't bother them now. It had to be done immediately. Yet we too hear the scriptures explained to us, we too gather together for the breaking of the bread, but unfortunately we don't always leave with the same kind of urgency to convey the Good News to others. But, of course, comparisons are invidious and it is unfair to compare the two situations. After all they were confronted with the presence of the Christ they had just seen executed on Calvary. But, nevertheless, just hearing what those disciples did makes our hearts burn within us.
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