Old Calendar: Second Sunday after Easter
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, 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. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?"Spirit of wisdom and understanding, have mercy on us. Litany of the Holy Spirit for the election of a holy pope.
The first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-33 and concerns bearing witness to the "name" of Jesus, and the implications which this witnessing necessarily brings with it. Peter and the apostles answered their inquisitors by stating firmly their faith in Christ, and the lesson ends with reference to their joy at having been found worthy to endure trials for the name of Christ. — A Celebrants Guide to the New Sacramentary - A Cycle by Kevin W. IrwinThe second reading is from the first Letter of Peter 1:17-21. St. Peter says that we are sons of God because of his infinite mercy in sending Christ to us as our brother. So we can rightly call God our "Father." But we must behave as true, loyal sons, during our "time of exile" on this earth, for our merciful Father is also the absolutely just God who will judge each one of us "impartially according to our deeds" when we lay down our earthly life. — A Guide to the Eucharist and Hours - Lent by Kevin W. IrwinThe Gospel is from St. Luke 24:13-35. There are two thoughts that should sink into our minds on hearing this beautiful and most instructive incident which happened on that first Easter Sunday.First, the loving kindness of Jesus to two disciples who had lost faith in him, because of his having failed, as they thought, to triumph over his enemies on that dreadful Good Friday. He followed them, like the Good Shepherd he was, and brought them back to the fold.In the lives of many Christians, and today especially, in the lives of many he has chosen as special disciples, there are moments when the doings and sayings of some who claim to be "masters in Israel" may make them doubt if Christ is still what he claimed to be, if his demands on them are still obligatory and necessary. They are tempted to think Christianity was a human invention, that heaven is a figment of human imagination, that God is dead or paying no heed to them, and they are tempted to go back to the Emmaus of agnosticism or atheism.The solution for their problem is that given by the risen Jesus to the disciples.What seemed a failure and a tragedy to the disciples was the triumph of God's eternal plan for raising man up to sonship with God himself and an eternal inheritance. God has not failed; Christ has not failed; Christianity has not failed and never will, but there will always be weaklings among us who will fall by the wayside and try to get others to join them to boost their sagging morale. The second thought is closely connected with the first: it is a divine remedy for those who feel their faith growing weak. The two disciples recognized the risen Jesus "in the breaking of bread." We have still the risen Christ present with us every time we join in the celebration of the Eucharist. He is not only at the table, the altar, with us, but in the bread he breaks for us through his ordained minister he is giving himself to us as our spiritual nourishment. He promised to do this (see Jn. 6) and he fulfilled his promise at the Last Supper when he gave the power and the command to his Apostles and their successors to celebrate the Eucharist for his people, for all time.If we partake regularly and devoutly of this divine nourishment, our faith will be strong enough to resist any doubts our own weak, human minds, or the bad example of Godless surroundings, may cause to arise within us. Our renewed liturgy is a replica of the Emmaus event. We have first the liturgy of the word, in which God's revelation is explained to us, and we then sit at table with our divine Lord—the Word of God made flesh—who gives himself to us under the form of human food — something which only a God, and a loving God, could do.Christ has called us to be his followers and disciples. He has called us not because he needs us, but because we need him. He has prepared for us a heavenly banquet—a feast of joy and happiness which will last forever. The present eucharistic meal is the means he instituted to help us reach the new Jerusalem which is above. Let us use this means frequently and fervently; in it we shall, like the two disciples, recognize him as our loving, risen Savior and each time we receive him we will return full of the glad tidings that Jesus has risen and conquered death, not only for himself but for all men of goodwill. — The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.