Scripture reflections – Sunday, May 8th

Acts 2:14, 22-33; 1Pt 1:17-21; Lk 4:13-35

3rd Sunday of Easter

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you.

This Sunday’s gospel reading is one of my favorites – the Resurrection story describing the meeting between the risen Christ and two of his disciples.  Clearly they are not part of the Twelve, and the unnamed discple could be a woman – at least, that’s how I like to imagine the story.  In other words, these two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus might very well represent what the experience is like for any of us when we encounter the risen Christ.

“With that, their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.”  Isn’t it curious that in the very moment when Cleopas and the unnamed disciple finally realize who it is they have been journeying with they can’t see him any longer?  The story suggests to me that there is some fundamental disconnect between sense information, even intellectual information, and meaning.

I don’t want to get too “Buddhist” here.  It’s not a total disconnect; if the two disciples had not spent the day attempting to understand this stranger through their senses and intellects, if they hadn’t been tuned into the fact that their “hearts were burning”, they likely would never have invited the risen Christ in for dinner in the first place.

That invitation is as far as their human capacities could take them, however.  To really understand who this stranger was and what his presence meant required an act of divine intervention.  And here is the really good news: that act of divine intervention – the blessing and breaking of the bread on a table surrounded by a community of believers – occurs each and every day in the Catholic Church.  It’s a little thing we call the Celebration of the Eucharaist (a.k.a. “The Mass”).

Keep this wonderful truth particularly in mind this Sunday as you receive the risen Christ first through the Word and then through that most intimate encounter mediated by bread and wine.

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

(To find book-length collections of my reflections on the scriptures, go to

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