‘Their eyes were opened’


Third Sunday of Easter – 26 April 2020

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

ON the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know.

‘This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

‘I saw the Lord before me always, for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.

‘So my heart was glad and my tongue cried out with joy; my body, too, will rest in the hope that you will not abandon my soul to Hades nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.

‘You have made known the way of life to me, you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption.

‘God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Second reading

1 Peter 1:17-21 – Your ransom was paid in the precious blood of Christ

IF you are acknowledging as your Father one who has no favourites and judges everyone according to what he has done, you must be scrupulously careful as long as you are living away from your home.

Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ; who, though known since before the world was made, has been revealed only in our time, the end of the ages, for your sake.

Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.


Luke 24:13-35They recognised him at the breaking of bread

TWO of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him.

He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified.

‘Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive.

‘Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’

So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’

Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.


(We have reflected on today’s gospel, Luke 24:13-35, on Wednesday – 15 April 2020 in the Octave of Easter. Here is a reproduction of that reflection with minor corrections and some addition towards the end).

ON this Third Sunday of Easter today, we should all be happily gathered in church, but we can’t. It’s so bitter. We must believe it can be sweet, too, for we are all God’s favourites, no matter what!

The Story of Emmaus is a Christian classic that points to the Christian journey of faith and personal encounter with the Risen Lord. It is also a very Catholic story: The Risen Lord, His Word, His Eucharist, is the source and heart of life for the baptized. The Holy Mass.

We must remember that Easter Season is the time when the newly baptized, the neophytes, celebrate the Word and the Eucharist, reflecting and savouring the great saving mysteries they have just received in the Sacraments of Initiation crowned by the Breaking of Bread in which they took part fully for the first time.

Easter is continuing catechesis/instruction by way of “mystagogy”, interpreting and learning for life the saving Mysteries they have just received and experienced (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist). 

It is not possible just to listen without recognizing Him by taking part in His Sacrifice.

The Emmaus story began with Cleopas and another disciple of Jesus leaving Jerusalem walking home to Emmaus, completely dejected and talking about their deep disappointment over the recent events of their Master’s tragic end.

Their political and military hopes that Jesus would set Israel free from the Romans were all but dashed. It was late afternoon on Sunday, two full days after the crucifixion. In Jerusalem since that Sunday morning they had heard of sensational reports that declared Jesus to be alive. But in their morbid defeat such news did not lift their spirit.   

Jesus came, joined them, walking along by their side, but something (not less their deep human disappointment, misunderstanding and lack of faith) prevented them from recognizing Him.

He got into their conversation but completely disregarded their reading of the recent events. Rather, He led them step-by-step through the scriptures trying to make them understand that the Messiah had always been ordained/destined to suffer but would enter into His glory.

Jesus knew what He was talking about. He was talking about Himself. After all, ALL Scriptures, the law and the prophets, were written about Him. He is the Word, Incarnate and Risen.

When Jesus did them the honours of staying the night with them at Emmaus, the miracle happened. It took place at dinner in a flash when Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it them.

Their eyes were instantly opened. They recognized the Risen Lord at the Breaking of Bread, the Eucharist. Jesus vanished. This instant recognition had a stunning reverse effect. ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

The Father has no favourites; everyone is His favourite.

They connected. It had been the same risen and living Lord who had spoken to them!  They rose instantly, left the table, and started the journey back to Jerusalem completely incapable of keeping the Good News to themselves any longer.

From earliest times, the real presence of the Risen Lord in the Eucharist, preceded by the Word He speaks, has become the norm and rule of Christian life. As Catholics we have always believed that the grace to recognize and believe in the Risen Lord, is given us at the Table of His Word and the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is the beginning and end of all Christian life and activities. It sets the pattern of our discipleship, to always listen to His Word and join Him in the Breaking of Bread, the loving giving of Himself to others, in all the big and small concrete circumstances of our daily life. It is not possible to join Him in His Sacrifice unless we listen and obey.

It is not possible just to listen without recognizing Him by taking part in His Sacrifice. To listen and sacrifice our lives to God with Jesus at Mass is the Sacrament of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

First Reading

As it was with the first Christian community in the first reading, we announce that “God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this”. Cleopas and companion flew back to Jerusalem.

Peter on the Day of Pentecost poured out boldly the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Resurrection of Jesus to the crowds. Nothing stopped him for who could stop anyone who had seen someone dead and now alive!!!

People who say they know the Scriptures should remember how the coming of the Saviour and His incorruptibility had been foretold and despite the attempts of men to prevent it happening, was fulfilled by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

This is the faith we have received by the power of the same Spirit poured into our hearts at Baptism. This is our continuing mission for the hope of the whole world.

Second Reading

Since we are all still in our body and away from our real “Home”, the words of St. Peter in the second reading are appropriate:

“If you are acknowledging as your Father one who has no favourites and judges everyone according to what he has done, you must be scrupulously careful as long as you are living away from your home”.

The Father has no favourites; everyone is His favourite. We have evidence that He has spoilt us all by giving us all His life in the Death of Jesus and the divine rebirth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But to remain steadfast, we should never forget the ultimate price God paid for our salvation – the precious blood of the unblemished Lamb of God, Jesus His Only Son. Often, we try to encourage children to be worthy of their parents who have made incalculable sacrifices for them.

And that’s what has kept families steadfast becoming the basic unit and building block of a good society. The reason for us to remain thankful and steadfast in our faith, is the supreme price God has paid for our salvation. Christians should never be forgetful!!! (“Orang … muda lupa.” – Mahathir).

Let’s earnestly pray that we shall soon be able to return to church and together listen to the Risen Lord and celebrate the Breaking of Bread in the Holy Mass!  

Cover Image: A depiction of Cleopas as one of the disciples who met Jesus during the Road to Emmaus appearance, by Joseph von Führich, 1837.

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