Easter Octave, Wednesday, Apr 15

Acts 3:1-10 / Luke 24:13-35
Two disciples welcome a stranger: The stranger turned out to be Jesus.

The Emmaus episode dramatizes three of the ways that people encountered the risen Jesus: in the broken brother, the broken word, and the broken bread. First, they met Jesus in the broken brother. That is, they encountered him in a stranger who was traveling all alone—a dangerous thing to do in ancient times.

(Recall the parable of the good Samaritan.) “Whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine,” said Jesus, “you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Second, they met Jesus in the broken word. Their hearts began “burning” within them when Jesus opened the Scriptures to them. Third, they met Jesus in the broken bread. He “took bread ... and they recognized him.”
Where do we meet Jesus most easily? “When Jesus comes, the shadows depart.”
It is easier to describe what Lent is than to talk about what Easter is. With Lent, what comes to mind are penance and fasting, Stations of the Cross and meditation on the sufferings of Christ. Dark purple vestments are worn and there are no flowers in the sanctuary and even the music is toned down.

But what can we say about Easter then? Yes, we know it is "Alleluia, Christ is risen" but how are we going to express that joy and all the talk about new life, etc.

Undeniably, it is easier to talk about the bad and the sad, rather than the good and the joyful. Human nature seems to be like that, so much so that we are apprehensive to express joy and happiness.
The two readings begin with a rather sad and unfortunate note. There was a man who was crippled from birth and he could only depend on people's generosity by begging from them. The two disciples on the way to Emmaus were a sad picture of disappointment.

But the situation changed for them. The crippled beggar was healed at the name of Jesus. And Jesus Himself walked the way with the two disciples until they recognized Him at the breaking of bread.

Certainly their sadness was turned to joy. The beggar was walking and jumping and praising the Lord. The two disciples with hearts on fire returned immediately to Jerusalem to announce the good news of the resurrection.

What the readings tells us is that the Risen Jesus will turn our sadness into joy. We don't have to jump around and shout praises.

We just need to have a lively hope and journey with people in their sadness and be with them in their unfortunate situations in life.

The joy and the hope that the Risen Jesus may not be easily articulated, but we will be able to see the good in the bad and the happy in the sad.
Octave of Easter Wednesday 

It may happen to us, as to the disciples on Emmaus, that we are discouraged and disillusioned on our pilgrim of life. Without being aware of the Lord’s presence, we travel, we converse with strangers or friends, we eat meals, we are indifferent or have little hope. But questioned by the words and the presence of the Risen Lord, we journey forward with him as our brother and Lord, we recognize him with one another and particularly in our Eucharistic assemblies. We become a people of hope. We recognize him when we break bread for one another. And when we share what we have with one another. And if so, people may perhaps recognize him also in us. Like the lame man in the first reading, we get on our feet, jump about with joy and hope, and praise God in word and deed.

Penitential rite
-as our hearts seek the LORD, because he is our strength, LHM
-as we called to proclaim all his wondrous deeds, CHM
-as we are anointed to serve the Lord constantly, LHM

Opening Prayer (1) 
God, our Father, you are a God not of the dead nor of those paralyzed by their fears and limitations but the God of the living. Raise us up and make us walk forward in joy and hope, as companions on the road of him, whom you raised from the dead, Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord for ever. 

Opening Prayer (2) 
Lord, our God, your Son is in our midst but his face is hidden. Help us to recognize him in our companions on the road: in the man who has no food or job, in the woman who has been deserted, in the child begging at the street corner. Give us a heart, that we may not pass them by with vacant eyes; for this man or this child or this woman is your Son for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Christ lives and continues his saving work. Peter and John restored a crippled man to health in the name of the Lord Jesus. In addition, the risen Christ continues his saving work in each one of us as the Lucan story of the men on the road to Emmaus makes clear. The two men are moving away from Jerusalem. Strange indeed, considering that in Luke’s Gospel the movement is always toward Jerusalem. They are puzzled and uncertain, with no idea as to the identity of the stranger who joins them. Disillusioned by the outcome of Jesus’ life, they are left only with the account of the empty tomb. It is here that the teaching of Jesus begins. Drawing on the scriptures, he presents those passages that point to the suffering and death of the messiah. With the approach of evening, the Lucan theme of hospitality emerges as the two men urge the stranger to join them in the inn. As they are at supper, the Eucharistic motif emerges anew. Jesus takes bread, breaks it, and distributes it. At this point, the men recognize the Lord. There is no further need for a visionary presence. He is present in the breaking of the bread.” What can we carry away with us with this reading? Christ is truly present in each Mass that we offer. Initially, in the scriptures that we draw upon each day, and in which we hope, our hearts too burn within us. Then we move to the altar and the “breaking of the bread.” Christ is really present as our food for the journey. This narrative is rich in its teaching and remind us that Easter is not simply a matter of historical recall. Christ is truly present in word and sacrament. It should be noted that at the account’s end, the two disciples return to Jerusalem. 

Points to Ponder 
Sin, our move away from Jerusalem The scriptures and the Eucharist The breaking of the bread Christ’s presence in our life. 

– Risen Lord, journey with your Church when it is persecuted or struggling with hardships that threaten its unity, we pray:
– Risen Lord, journey with your communities when they are beset by strife, injustices and loss of fervor, we pray:
– Risen Lord, keep walking with us when we are confused, in doubt or slow to understand you, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts
 God of light and life, we are dull of hearts and slow to understand how your Son journeys with us every moment of life. Help us to recognize his presence in these humble signs of bread and wine and let him put fire in our hearts when we hear his words and become aware of his nearness in this Eucharist, in the events of life, and in the people around us, for he is our Risen Lord for ever. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord, our God, we have heard your Son’s words that question our apathy and gloom and he has stirred our hearts. We sat at table with him and he broke for us the bread of himself. Send us out now to our brothers and sisters to bring them the Good News, that your Son is risen and alive, and that now, we can go with one another his journey of life and hope. We ask you this in the name of Jesus, the Lord, who lives with you and stays with us, now and for ever. 

With the Gospel of today, could we say together with the disciples of Emmaus: “Were not our hearts burning within us, when Jesus was walking with us on the road and speaking his Good News to us?” May the Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.