Readings & Homily, 3rd Sunday of Easter, 23rd April

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Sunday, 23 rd April 2023

Third Sunday of Easter Cycle A

Readings on p.473 in the Daily Missal and p.250 in the Sunday Missal

Entrance Antiphon
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of his name. O
render him glourious praise, alleluia.

First Reading: Acts 2: 14, 22-33
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
[On the day of Pentecost,]
Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said,
“People of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem,
let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.
“Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God
with mighty works and wonders and signs
which God did through him in your midst,
as you yourselves know— 
this Jesus,
delivered up according to the definite plan
and foreknowledge of God,
you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 
But God raised him up,
having loosed the pangs of death,
because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 
For David says concerning him,
‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
nor let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’


“Brothers and sisters, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch
David that he both died and was buried,
and his tomb is with us to this day. 
Being therefore a prophet,
and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, 
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that he was not abandoned to Hades,
nor did his flesh see corruption. 
This Jesus God raised up,
and of that we all are witnesses. 
Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God,
and having received from the Father
the promise of the Holy Spirit,
he has poured out this which you see and hear.” 
The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16: 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (R 11a)
Let us pray the Responsorial Psalm:
R/: Lord, you will show me the path of life.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.”
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my flesh shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul hell,
nor let your holy one see corruption.

You will show me the path of life,

the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, bliss forever.
R/: Lord, you will show me the path of life.

Second Reading: 1 Peter 1: 17-21
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Peter
Brothers and sisters:
And if you invoke as Father
him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds,
conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. 
You know that you were ransomed
from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors,
not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 
but with the precious blood of Christ,
like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 
He was destined before the foundation of the world
but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. 
Through him you have confidence in God,
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.
The Word of the Lord

Please stand for the Gospel
Alleluia, alleluia
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn with love
when you speak to us.

Gospel: Luke 24: 13-35


A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke
That very day [ the first day of the week],
two of the disciples of Jesus
were going to a village named Emmaus,
about seven miles from Jerusalem, 
and 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
which 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,
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 this happened. 
Moreover, some women of our company amazed us.
They were at the tomb early in the morning 
and did not find his body;
and 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 men,


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 appeared to be going further, 
but they constrained him, 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 out of 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 gathered together
and those who were with them, who said,
“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.
The Gospel of the Lord

Communion Antiphon
The disciples recognised the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread,


Suppose you and I are strolling along a road and a stranger starts to
stroll with us.
 “What are you discussing as you walked along?” he asks, a little
too boldly.
 We stop.
 We are tempted to admit that we were worrying about the power
cuts from Eskom.
 Plus so much else. In Joburg, it is unusual to talk to strangers
when walking. Is he a mugger – am I safe?
So, we need now to stroll in our mind, and think about a significant
journey that we have been on.
 The most significant journey is our journey of life.
 That’s much too much to think about, so we choose just a part of
that journey.
Mine was a journey I made in 2011.
 I walked the Camino to Santiago.
 This is a pilgrimage to the cathedral of St James in Santiago, the
western part of Spain.
 For over a 1000 years people have been going on pilgrimage to
 That means walking all the way.
 There can be many reasons to go on pilgrimage
o In the middle ages, it could be given as a penance,
o It could be searching for an encounter with God.
o It be to take stock of ones life.
In 2011, I decided to walk the Camino Frances – French Route – 800 km
across Spain.
 I had just turned 50 (so old!), 3 years clear of cancer, and I wanted
to use the quiet time to take stock of my life.
 It is a demanding journey.
 It is easy to walk 25km in one day.
 It is a lot more difficult to do it day after day.
After 35 days of walking, I reached Cathedral of St James in Santiago in
June 2011 – journeying through one of the most profound experiences
of my life.
Some people who go through a crisis,
 like unemployment because of cutbacks with the loadshedding,
 or a sudden serious illness,
 or the death of a loved one,
 can struggle in their faith and wonder: "Where is God?"
 "Has God abandoned me?"
 Or even, "Why is God doing this to me?"
 When people in crisis hear the Easter accounts, like today’s
gospel, they get a case of the, "If only’s…"
"If only I had been there with those frightened disciples when Jesus
suddenly appeared in their midst, then I would have strong faith."
"If only I had seen his wounded hands and feet, I would have shared
with him my own hurts."
"If only I had watched him eat that baked fish by the side of the lake, I
would have told him of my own hunger."
The disciples’ encounter with Jesus on the road is certainly one of
the most beautiful in the New Testament.
 It is a story of two people who were so focused on the past they
couldn’t see what was right before their eyes.
 With the death of Jesus their world collapsed.
 Walking away from Jerusalem they were also walking away from
their dreams.
 They were going back into darkness, as they tell the stranger who
has joined them, "It is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
 They weren’t just speaking about the time of the day.
 They were returning to their old lives, it seemed nothing had
changed and things appeared pretty dark for them.
When Jesus joined them on their journey
 "…their eyes were prevented from recognizing him."
 What caused their blindness?
 Why didn’t they recognize the one they had been following, with
whom they had shared their lives?
 Maybe it was because they had their own idea of what they
wanted Jesus to be,
o some kind of king, or a warrior on a mighty stallion who
would vanquish the Romans.
o "We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel."
o We were hoping . . .
But Jesus was right there in front of them, in the flesh, to show he
was alive.
 Wasn’t that enough?
 Apparently not, since they didn’t recognize him.
 The gospel of Luke was written between the years 80-90 AD.
 The Emmaus story is in the last chapter of Luke’s gospel.
 Neither Luke, nor his contemporaries, had experienced the risen
Christ the way the first disciples had.
 Like us, they hadn’t seen him in the flesh.
 Like us, they needed reassurance that Christ was truly risen from
the dead and was among them.
 Like us, life sometimes overwhelmed them, leaving them with
questions, confusion and doubts.
 We hope to have our faith strengthened;
o We hope to discover that Jesus isn’t a past-tense
o merely a great historical figure now long gone.
We have walked the road to Emmaus.
 We know how long it is;
o how it twists and turns;
o how it doubles back on itself;
 Walking the Camino, one crosses over two small mountain ranges.
o The highest point of the route I took is at O Cebreiro – Iron
o I will never forget that leg of the journey.
o Walking, and then after passing through a village, you just
see a mountain before you. It was a dense forest. The path
turned, and I saw written in English the words: Hell starts
o I thought, that seems a little dramatic.
o But I soon understood.
o The road was at a steep gradient- it felt almost vertical – and
it was twisting and turning. Because of the tall trees, you can
only see about 20 m ahead and about 20 m behind.
o It felt like I was alone. There are always fellow pilgrims
walking, but here I could not see them.
o It was a long hard slog to reach the top where the
accommodation was. I made it, but it was tough.
o I remember thinking how we can feel lost, even forgotten.
o For the two disciples, the road to Emmaus is a road of fallen
Haven’t there been times in our lives when we have said,
 "If only I had…."
 Or, "I wish I hadn’t…."?
 When we even uttered the words of the dejected disciples on the
road, "We were hoping…."
 When a marriage didn’t last…
 a personal goal never realized…
 a child went off the deep end…
 an illness severely limited our capabilities.
 Times like these, the words of the two disciples are ours as well,
"We were hoping…."
 On my journey I would
o Walk with a fellow pilgrim for a while and chat
o Walk on my own –
 And through that journey, my reflections helped me to
o accept all the decisions I have made
o I was able to say – I am okay with my choices in life.
It is on our journey of life that we see the risen Christ with us.
 For the two disciples, Jesus begins by explaining the Scriptures to
o In other words, the biblical Word of God is proclaimed and
explained so that new insight is given to the disciples.
 Then, after having the Word of God opened for them, the disciples
gather around the table with Jesus where bread is blessed, broken
and given to them.
This is what we do when we come together for Mass:
 We listen and experience the Word of God
 The priest breaks the Bread – and we recognised the Risen Jesus
in the Body of Christ.
"the breaking of the bread" – was, and still is, a term used for the
At mass, our "eyes are opened" and we meet the risen Lord when we
gather to hear the Word of God and "break the bread" together.
We meet Jesus daily in our life’s journey.
 through our personal and family prayers;
 and through our family meals.
 When we meet our risen Lord through the Word of God, we
commune with him.
 We renew our relationship with Jesus through prayer.
 All these meetings prepare and enable us to encounter the risen
Jesus living in all the people we meet and to do Him humble,
loving and selfless service in each of them.
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."
Hope is the virtue that enables us to dream big dreams and work to
put them into reality. But we often need our hopes nourished,
because if what we hope for is important – peace, care for the
elderly, an end to the death penalty, a rejuvenated and healed
church, good liturgy and preaching in our parish, housing for the
elderly, an end to domestic violence, equality of women and gays in
our churches and communities, fair treatment for immigrants, and
so much more – then we will need encouragement, perseverance,
passion, clear thinking and the support of a believing and hoping
community. We need the Word of God, the Eucharist and a faith
community that shares our dreams and gives us hope.
 When I am discouraged who give me hope?
 Who are the people in the world who kindle hope in me and
challenge me to persevere in my good works?
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