08 May – Third Sunday of Easter
Christ With Us On The Way Of Life
Christ has made known to us the true way of life and ransomed us from the useless way of life handed down to us. He is with us today in the breaking of bread.
Acts of the Apostles 2:14.22-33
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.
1 Peter 1:17-21
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.
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.
Jesus came up and walked with them
I heard in a homily once that the Eucharistic celebration is like the road to Emmaus. We, the congregation enter the holy place of worship, the church, just like the disciples stepping out for their journey to Emmaus. We have the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we witness His passion on the cross for us each year at Good Friday, and we get reminded of His love and our Father’s love for us. We hear of the great hope of resurrection after death, Jesus’ body was never found in the tomb where He was laid nor was it anywhere else. However, knowing and believing all these, we sometimes still turn blind as we enter into our weekly routine or temptations from the secular worldly behaviours.
The order of the Eucharistic celebration begins with praises and glorification to our risen Lord. Similarly to how the disciples speak of Jesus as a prophet mighty in word and deed before God and He is the hope to redeem Israel. As they walked along, Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. We have the readings and Gospel where the words of God speak to us. We praised Him but it is also important that we understand why and our motivation for our praises. Jesus went in to stay with the disciples and broke bread with them at the end of the journey. In sacrament of Holy Communion, we have also come to share in the one body which God has shared with us. We receive Him and our eyes that are so often blinded by the worldly desires are now open, to live like Him in our everyday lives. More importantly, to act on what we have heard in the scriptures and praise Him even more after the celebrations in church.
In the coming third week of Easter, we continue to celebrate the hope our Father has promised us. So often, I know of people whose spiritual purpose is to live a mundane usual week around their job, family and friends, then to have a spiritual high on Sunday for the Eucharistic celebration. In fact, we should celebrate with our fellow brothers and sisters to praise God on the Sunday but to continue living that spiritual high for the rest of our week, to work responsibly in our jobs, caring for our family and neighbours and to feel Jesus walking with us throughout our days. We can be like Jesus and walk with the other, so that anyone can experience God through you, so in His time, one may open his eyes and sing praises of hope in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: Dear Lord, may You open our ears, humble our hearts when we enter to worship you in church today, and that we will walk out to spread the Good News of your Son’s resurrection.
Thanksgiving: I look back and always find two pairs of footprints. I know you are walking with me, and let me be Simon who will also be there for You in return.
Mon, 09 May – Acts of the Apostles 6:8-15; John 6:22-29
Tue, 10 May – Acts of the Apostles 7:51-8:1; John 6:30-35
Wed, 11 May – Acts of the Apostles 8:1-8; John 6:35-40
Thu, 12 May – Acts of the Apostles 8:26-40; John 6:44-51; Memorial for Ss Nereus & Archilleus, Martyrs
Fri, 13 May – Acts of the Apostles 9:1-20; John 6:52-59; Memorial for Our Lady of Fatimah
Sat, 14 May – Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17.20-26; John 15:9-17; Feast of St Matthias, Apostle
Sun, 15 May – Acts of the Apostles 2:14.36-41; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10; Fourth Sunday of Easter