ACTS 2: 14, 22 – 33
[On the day of Pentecost,] Peter, standing with the Eleven, lifted up his voice and said, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give ear to my words. “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know — this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”’ “Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear.”
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 16: 1 – 2a and 5, 7 – 8, 9 – 10, 11 (R.) 11a.
R/. Lord, you will show me the path of life.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.”
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot. R/.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved. R/.
And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my flesh shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to hell,
nor let your holy one see corruption. R/.
You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, bliss forever. R/.
“You were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a Lamb without blemish.”
1ST PETER 1: 17 – 21
Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
The Word of the Lord.
Luke 24: 32.
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn with love when you speak to us.
“They recognised him in the breaking of the bread.”
LUKE 24: 13 – 35
That very day [the first day of the week], two of the disciples of Jesus were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognising him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is towards evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each, other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the Eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Understanding Dispels Doubt
April 23, 2023
“But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.” (Luke 24:21–23)
The day on which our Lord rose from the dead, some of the women who had accompanied Him went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body and found the tomb empty. An angel spoke to them of Jesus’ Resurrection and then these women went to tell the disciples what they saw. The reaction of the disciples is recorded this way: “but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them.”
Later that day, two of those doubting disciples were traveling on foot to the town of Emmaus. As they traveled, they were “conversing and debating” about what had happened to Jesus and also about what these women reported to them. It is clear from their words that they were quite confused and discouraged about what was happening. They encountered our Lord in His public ministry. They had listened to His powerful teachings. They witnessed His miracles. They had hoped that He was the Messiah. But then they saw Him arrested, humiliated, beaten, crucified and killed. Jesus’ death took a serious toll on them and made them question their faith in Him. And even after they heard that He had risen, they couldn’t bring themselves to believe. Thus, they traveled the road to Emmaus—discouraged, confused and doubting.
As these disciples walked along, our Lord appeared to them, but they did not recognize Him in His resurrected form. They expressed their confusion to Him and Jesus finally said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” After Jesus went on and explained the Scriptures to them, they were hungry for more. They asked this stranger to stay with them and He did. That evening, Jesus broke bread with them, and in that sacramental act, they recognized Him before He vanished from their eyes.
We must see ourselves in these disciples. There are many things in life that can lead us to discouragement. When we strive to follow God’s will but find that things have not turned out how we expected, there is a temptation to doubt. Why is that? What is the cause of doubt? More than anything else, doubts and discouragement come from our failure to understand the perfect plan of God for our lives.
If these disciples had understood, from the beginning, all that Jesus explained to them on the road to Emmaus, they would not have despaired. They would not have lost hope. So also with us, when we begin to lose hope in our lives, it is primarily because we have failed to understand the divine plan for our lives correctly. We have failed to see that God permits certain things for His glory. He permits certain hardships to deepen our faith and trust in Him. When we fail to see His permissive will in all things, we will become discouraged and confused.
Reflect, today, upon these two disciples. They had the incredible privilege of spending much time with our Lord during His public ministry, seeing His miracles and hearing His sermons. But when the Cross ensued, they doubted and despaired. Let these disciples witness to you and reveal to you any ways that you fall into similar temptations. Do you have perfect hope in God and His plan for your life? Or do you allow the various crosses you endure to confuse you and lead you to doubt? Allow our Lord to appear to you through prayer and reveal to you His perfect plan. Be open to the gift of understanding by trusting that the wisdom of God will dispel every temptation you have toward doubt, replacing it with trust and hope.
Lord of perfect wisdom, Your plan for my life is perfect and glorious beyond imagination. Too often, I fail to understand Your will and fall into confusion and doubt. Please open my mind to Your truth and help me to see everything from Your perspective so that I will always walk with hope and trust in You. Jesus, I trust in You.