3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER: LUKE 24: 35-48
Today’s Gospel describes two of Jesus’ disciples, who were walking away
from Jesus and the church community in Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were
confused, disappointed, and had lost their hopes, after the death of Jesus.
On their journey, they were arguing and debating with each other. Jesus
approached them and walked along side of them. At first, their eyes were
prevented from recognizing Jesus because they were thinking and discussing
their own futures, instead of focusing on Jesus. After they stopped their
argument and began to pay attention to Jesus’ words and actions, and they
recognized this man to be the Risen Lord.
An important aspect we can learn from the first part of today’s gospel is
that when Jesus appeared to two of his disciples, Jesus first offered them
the words, “Peace be with you. Instead of giving them power or authority,
wealth, or any other promises, Jesus knew that the disciples needed peace
more than anything else. But the “peace” Jesus offered them was greatly
different from the “peace” offered by the world. This is the same peace
we all need and we all long for– a precious and priceless gift that is our
peace of mind. We cannot buy this inner peace with money or power. In our
human nature, we all have unnecessary worries and fears, these are the
things that can cause major obstacles to achieving lasting peace of mind.
Our unnecessary worries and fears never accomplish anything except get
wrinkles, which give us more worries!
During this past year we all experienced losing our own peace of mind
because of the pandemic. Recently, the vaccines for Covid-19 have offered
us more peace and hope with the assurance that there is a way to help us
live through this pandemic. The vaccines are a kind of hope, just as Jesus
is our only hope to salvation and glory, to overcome this deadly virus.
Let us have faith and trust so as to experience God’s Peace!
In the second part of today’s gospel, Jesus asked two of his disciples, who
were still speaking about the encounter with Jesus with belief and
unbelief: Jesus asked them “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him
a piece of baked fish; Jesus took it and ate in front of them. Their eyes and
ears were open, and they recognized the Risen Lord. In our lives, too, we
often fail to recognize Jesus in our midst, because we are distracted and
busy with many things. When we focus on Jesus and His words, and we share
whatever we have with other people; the bread of love, kindness,
forgiveness, understanding, and generosity, we will experience the Risen
Jesus wants us to be a community, which cares and supports each other and
in which everything is shared, a community that knows how to recognize
Jesus in the poor, in the suffering, and in the sick. A community to
bring healing into people’s lives, and a community of peacemakers. Let
the Risen Lord use us as instruments of God’s love. St. Mother Teresa was
fond of saying, “We are pencils in the hands of a loving God. God does the
writings. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil has only to be
allowed to be used. We cannot all do great things, but we can do small
things with great love.” If written with a pencil, we can always correct
and erase our mistakes. Like a pencil, we will undergo some painful
sharpening in our lives that will make us better pencils. Let us resolve
to be the best pencils we can be as we allow ourselves to be held and
guided by the hand of God that holds us always.
Let us be small pencils in the hand of God and let us be God’s eyes, ears,
hands, as we bear witness to God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. Jesus is
speaking to others through us. A dying old woman in the lap of Mother
Teresa looked at Mother’s face and in a feeble voice asked: “Are you the
Jesus, who loves the poor and the sick?”
We can be God’s loving instruments and witness to God in our own ways by
reaching out to the poor, sick, and suffering, those having difficulties
with their faith and who are struggling with darkness in their lives. Even
in our own dark moments of life and in our unbelief, we can invite Jesus
“to stay with us and have a meal with us,” like the disciples did. Let
us pray to the Lord to open our eyes so that we may see with Easter eyes, to
open our ears to hear with Easter ears, and to open our minds to be
receptive to the joy of the presence of the Risen Lord.