Dear Sisters and Brothers,
In today’s reading the two disciples are on the way to
Emmaus encounter Christ on the first day of the week.
They recognize him in the “breaking of the bread” which
was the early Christian term for the celebration of the Mass. This happened on the first day of the week, which was the Lord’s Day.
The Lord’s Day or Sunday is God’s gift to us and is a day of special grace. It is a day which God has given us to rest from profane activities and contemplate with and in God the work he has done for us. Our Lord exhorts us to keep holy the Sabbath and in the New Testament Christ commands us, “Do this in memory of me.”
Sunday is our first and most fundamental feast day, which celebrates the core mystery of our faith, the resurrection of our Lord. We celebrate it not just at Easter but every Sunday. It is difficult in our day and age to protect this day. I see many people who are trying to pack so much into their day and are working seven days a week to make ends meet. They do not realize that they are robbing themselves of the very things they are pursuing by not keeping holy the Lord’s Day. If only they could believe that it would be far more profitable for them if they truly revered the Lord’s Day. “Time given to Christ is never time lost, but rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human” (Pope John Paul II, On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy, Daughters of St. Paul, 1998, N.7).
This requires faith of course, and it seems that faith and the understanding of how important the Mass is in maintaining our relationship with Christ is dwarfed by the demands we place upon ourselves in today’s society. St. John Paul II, lamenting this fact, wrote: “In the minds of many of the faithful not only the sense of the centrality of the Eucharist but even the sense of the duty to give thanks to the Lord and to pray to him with others in the community of the Church seems to be diminishing” (Ibid, 5).
Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is recognition that we cannot save ourselves, that it is a work of God. It is trusting in his provision for our lives so that we do not have to destroy ourselves by working ourselves to death. We are not slaves, we have been freed by Christ, but so many behave as if they were still slaves. As the author of Hebrews warns us so strongly:
Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold our first confidence firm until the end, for it is said: “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion’.” Who were those who rebelled when they heard? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt under Moses? With whom was he “provoked for forty years”? Was it not those who had sinned, whose corpses fell in the desert? And to whom did he “swear that they should not enter into his rest,” if not to those who were disobedient? And we see that they could not enter for lack of faith” (Hebrews 3:7-19).
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 4, 2014
Third Sunday of Easter
Luke 24: 13-35
The disciples walking on the way to Emmaus in the late afternoon of Easter Sunday did not realize that they were speaking in person with Jesus. The fact that his appearance was different to them is clear; after all, they would hardly fail to recognize such a personal friend and guide, yet their delayed recognition goes beyond visual images and embraces a broader human tendency to fail to see the things that ought to be the clearest to us. They finally recognize him when he takes bread and breaks it to share with them, representing the Eucharist which he had previously shared with his apostles on the evening of Holy Thursday, immediately preceding his passion and death.
Third Sunday of Easter: Apostolic Witnesses
Last weekend was amazing. The world’s attention was focused on the canonizations of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II. Hundreds of thousands attended the celebration. Millions more watched it on television. Its true significance was not the canonizations themselves. Its significance is that they pointed to the central event in the history of mankind. They pointed to the Christ event, the coming of the Eternal Word of God as one of us, as man; His proclamation of the new spiritual Kingdom of God; His destruction of evil and death through the sacrificial love of the cross; His giving His Life to us at the Resurrection and at our personal acceptance of this Life, our Baptism; and the continuation of His power and presence through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Third Sunday of Easter, Year A—May 4, 2014
Gospel (Read Lk 24:13-35)
Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus appeared to two “downcast” (Lk 24:17) disciples on Resurrection Day, He didn’t do the very thing that would have broken into their despair—identify Himself? Why were these men traveling away from Jerusalem? Surely it was because Jesus’ death there had deeply disappointed them. They had been “hoping that He would be the one to redeem Israel” (Lk 24:21), and that had fallen to dust and defeat. What was the point of staying in Jerusalem any longer?