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Going Deeper – Gospel Reflections

Readings for Wednesday 4/7/2021

Reading I

Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial Psalm

R.    (3b) Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations-
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
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.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he 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?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Word of God Burning Within

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30–31

Two of Jesus’ disciples had been discussing the events of the past week as they walked the seven-mile journey along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They previously had hoped that Jesus was the one Who would redeem Israel—but then He was killed. And three days later, there were rumors of His Resurrection, which only left them confused. As they journeyed, Jesus appeared to the two disciples, but they did not recognize Him at first. His identity was hidden from their eyes. Jesus listened to them and expressed sorrow at their lack of understanding, so He explained to them the teachings of Moses and the prophets and that the Messiah needed to suffer, die and rise on the third day. As Jesus spoke, the disciples began to understand, and their hearts burned within them. Finally, in the gift of the Holy Eucharist, in the breaking of the Bread, their eyes were opened to see that it was Jesus with them.

Why did Jesus hide His risen presence from these disciples? It appears that He did so because they lacked faith. They said, “…we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.”  But the Crucifixion was too much for them to handle. They could not comprehend why the Redeemer had to suffer as Jesus did, so they began to doubt.

Too often we are like these disciples who are confused about matters of faith and who struggle with doubts. For that reason, we must see ourselves in the persons of these disciples as they walked the road to Emmaus. Jesus offered these disciples a wonderful gift of mercy by helping them to understand His saving act. He explained to them all that was taught in Scripture regarding Him. And as these disciples listened to Jesus teach them, they slowly came to believe.

We, too, must allow Jesus to teach us about the transforming power of His death and Resurrection. We must listen attentively and allow our hearts to burn within us as we listen to His holy Word. Only in this way will we come to the level of faith we need to more fully comprehend and accept the transforming power of the Paschal Mystery.

Reflect, today, upon these disciples and their need to reflect upon the Word of God so as to understand, believe and have their eyes opened. Know that you need this same grace. You need to spend time with our Lord, immersed in His Word, listening to His voice, so that you will come to believe more fully. Allow the message of Jesus’ death and Resurrection to burn within you so that you, too, will come to believe.

My resurrected Lord, You appeared to these disciples who lacked faith and understanding and gave them the gift of Your holy teaching. Teach me, dear Lord, all that I must come to understand and know about You, Your death, Resurrection and glorious gift of new life. May Your Word burn within me and lead me to a transformation of my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

Source of content: mycatholic.life