Third Sunday of Easter
April 15, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19 / Ps 4 / 1 Jn 2:1-5A / Lk 24:35-48
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
According to a 2013 Huffington Post/YouGov survey, about 45% of Americans believe in ghosts, and a majority of them are probably Christians. In the gospels, there are two instances where the disciples thought that Jesus was a ghost.
In chapter 14 of the gospel of Matthew, when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought He was a ghost. But Jesus spoke to them and said “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
The second instance is from the gospel we just heard. It is taken from the last chapter of the gospel of Luke, while the two disciples were telling their story about their Emmaus experience, and how they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. The risen Christ stood in their midst and said “Peace be with you.”
Saint Luke the evangelist relates to us that the disciples were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. That is why Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? It is I myself. A ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” When they gave Him a piece of baked fish, Jesus ate it in front of them. And then He opened their minds, so that they were able to understand the scriptures.
Two thousand years after this event, we are all gathered together with millions of Christians all over the world who believe and have faith in the risen Christ. The gospel today began with the two disciples telling their story of their journey to Emmaus, and how Jesus walked with them on the road, explained the scriptures to them, and how they were able to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread, which we now call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When Jesus disappeared from their sight, they were able to exclaim “Were not our hearts burning inside us as He talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?”
Saint John Paul II, in his apostolic letter for the year of the Eucharist, which was celebrated from 2004 to 2005, used this particular image of the disciples on the way to Emmaus as a guide in living the mystery of the Eucharist. And he said, “When minds are enlightened and hearts are enkindled, signs begin to ‘speak.’” Saint John Paul II is telling us that every time we open our hearts and minds to listen to God’s living words during the celebration of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist comes alive.