"First Thoughts on Year B Gospel Passages in the Lectionary," Easter 3, William Loader, Murdoch University, Uniting Church in Australia.
God of Abraham and Sarah, God of Isaac and Rebekah, God of Jacob and Rachel and of all our ancestors in faith, you have glorified your servant Jesus and made him the atoning sacrifice for our sins, the source of peace and reconciliation for the whole world. Open our hearts to true conversion, and as we have known the Lord in the breaking of the bread so make us witnesses of a new humanity, renewed, reconciled and at peace in your love. Send us as heralds of the repentance and forgiveness you offer to all. We ask this through Christ, with whom you have raised us up in baptism, the Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year B, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.
Some Thoughts on Luke 24:36b-48
This Sunday we shift from John's Easter message to Luke's resurrection narrative. Commonly called, The Road to Emmaus, our passage this week comes in both our reading cycle for Year A and Year B. So if you are having Easter flashbacks you are not alone; and, that may be on purpose!
The Word of God demands the acceptance of the prophetic critique and a "turning" of one's life. Conversion is an important theme in Luke-Acts, closely joined to the pattern of the prophet and the people. Jesus' ministry is preceded by the Word of God spoken through the prophet John, which called people to repentance. Acts opens with the preaching of Peter which also calls for repentance. Those who enter the people that God forms around the prophet must "turn around. (Luke, Sacra Pagina, 23)
I have leaned on Luke Timothy Johnson a great deal in this passage as I think he does the very best with it. The preacher has many opportunities for topics. I encourage you to think deeply about speaking with your people about how we have come to understand and to know the witness of Jesus both through others, and through our texts. For Episcopalians we read the text in community. It is in our prayer book, it is in our scripture readings, and in our hymns. We read the texts of scripture on the road to Emmaus, struggling together and inviting Jesus to be in our midst revealing the truth, the way and the life that lies before us as people of the resurrected Christ.
People in church on Sunday, or reading this (like myself) know the business of life. How many of us, like the disciples, will leave church not to think about the meaning of the good news for our life until next week. I wonder what would happen if this week we challenged our people to walk in life this week, with their eyes wide open, looking for the risen Lord. How many times a day will they see him this week? How many times an hour? Can our sermons, our preaching, praying, singing open our eyes to the risen Lord in our midst?
A Little Bit for Everyone
13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”19He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning,23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
36While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”42They gave him a piece of broiled fish,43and he took it and ate in their presence.44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.48You are witnesses of these things.49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”