Scripture Reflection, 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 23, 2023
Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-33 1 Peter 1:17-21 Luke 24:13-35
Our readings for this Third Sunday of Easter continue to focus on the period immediately following the resurrection as well as the first few weeks thereafter. This is a way for the Church to indicate the importance of the resurrection event as a tool for helping us grasp the significance of God’s actions in leading his people forward - that we may appreciate the goodness and the greatness of God, as well as our role in spreading the word.
Several significant themes can be found in these readings, such as: hope, love, joy, the unfolding of God’s plan for us, and the passion and power of faith.
Many of the themes can be found in the first reading (from Acts). The second reading (from the First Letter of Peter) reminds us that our faith and hope come from God and should be rooted in God.
And for me, the greatest treasure of these readings is found in today’s gospel passage (from Luke), which presents the story of the two disciples who encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus. This has long been one of my favorite gospel stories.
Recently, I was invited to reflect upon why it has had such a profound impact on me. I concluded that, first: it demonstrates the power of a good story to convey an important message; second: it offers a lovely example of conversion - as the two disciples “see the light” and realize they are actually in the presence of the divine; and third: the power of Jesus’ words causes their hearts to burn with love for God and passion for God’s message of truth, justice and peace.
And there it is: Their hearts were burning, and they hurried back to the other disciples to share this great news!
Pause to remember: When did your heart burn with love and devotion for God, for anyone…or anything? What caused it to be so enflamed? Did you want to share the news with those you loved? Try to remember what it felt like to experience such passion. Now, imagine that God is calling you today, beckoning you to love, and to feel God’s unconditional, all encompassing love for you. What could be more important than accepting such an invitation? What could be more liberating? What could be more wonderful?
Let your prayer time this week focus on saying “yes” to God’s invitation to love and to be loved.
Let God’s love be the fire that burns in your heart - a fire that does not consume or diminish - a fire that enlightens and enlivens those whom it touches!
by Bill Miller