Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 03, 2024


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R/. Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice. Or: Alleluia.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/.This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

R/. Alleluia.

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were 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 recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that 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, a man 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 these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, 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 ones, 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 acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward 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 recognized him. And he vanished from 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 and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “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.

1.      “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” This is what Peter tells the lame beggar at the Temple gate. Thereby, it is clear that the spiritual wealth that is the power of the risen Lord is more valuable than the material riches and power. For, such spiritual power heals and gives a new life and dignity.

2.       Today, as the disciples of the risen Lord, this is our greatest mission. We shall not be satisfied with giving mere material help. Surely this is also very important because there is so much poverty and misery all around. But that will not suffice. Alms to the beggar could only satisfy his temporary needs. But healing would cater to the needs of his entire life.

3.       Peter spoke the healing words. But he did not stop with mere words. He took the lame man by the hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

4.       In what Peter did and what the healed man did, there are some directions for our own mission. Our mission should be of both word and deed: not only speak healing words but also assist them concretely to raise up and make their walking strong and straight. Help the people become strong and steady. What a difference between the first leaping which was limping and the second leaping which was free jumping!

5.       We must try to make our mission more holistic and not merely material. Restore the lost human dignity and joy of life. Bring the people closer to God so that they “enter the temple” and not only remain outside at the gate. Empower them spiritually so that they “praise God”.

6.      For this, what is needed is to rise above our moments of disappointment and loss of hope. The two disciples on the way to Emmaus experienced this low condition. But they were rejuvenated once they allowed the Lord to accompany them.

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