3rd Sunday of Easter. Year B, 18th April 2021 – (PDF Download)
Background to the Gospel Reading Luke 24:35-48
We continue to hear Gospel accounts of Jesus’ appearances to his disciples following his Resurrection. Today’s reading, taken from the Gospel of Luke, follows immediately after the report of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples on the road to Emmaus. This is the event being recounted by the disciples in the opening verse of today’s Gospel.
Notice how in the reports of Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances, Jesus greets his disciples with the words, “Peace be with you.” The disciples have witnessed the death of someone they loved, and they now fear for their own lives as well. Peace is what they need more than anything else. Jesus often connects this greeting of peace with the gift of forgiveness. This is woven into the text of every Mass. The disciples still remain terrified to some extent of Jesus. Imagine how you might feel if you witnessed a close friend die a violent death and then three days later see them alive and looking better than before they were killed. They are uncertain about what to make of the figure before them and mistake Jesus for a ghost. We have the benefit of hindsight, the disciples didn’t.
Jesus invites them to experience his resurrected body with their senses, to look and to touch. The figure before them is flesh and bone, still bearing the marks of crucifixion. Although the disciples cannot forget his suffering and death, slowly peace begins to take root in their hearts, as their fears turn to joy and amazement. As further proof of his identity and of his resurrected body, Jesus eats with his disciples. The disciples have known Jesus best through the meals that he has shared with them. By eating with his disciples after his Resurrection, Jesus recalls all these meals, and most importantly, he recalls the Last Supper.
Luke’s report of the Last Supper and the meals that Jesus shared after his Resurrection unveil for us the significance of the Eucharist. Having shared a meal with his disciples, Jesus now uncovers for them the significance of what was written about him in the Scriptures. So, too, our celebration of the Mass is an encounter with Jesus, through the Word and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus invites us to be participants, not spectators. As Jesus commissions his disciples to be witnesses to what Scriptures foretold, our celebration of the Eucharist commissions us. Go! Like the disciples, we are sent to announce the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness of sins.
A very big thank you to everyone who had a hand in getting us ready for Holy Week and especially our Sacred Paschal Triduum. We had the best Easter liturgical celebrations we could have had in the current circumstances. Thank you to everyone who played a part!
Mass schedules etc!
The Sunday Obligation remains suspended during the pandemic, until re-instated by the bishop. At present I have not heard and do not know when this will be. Please God, all our parishioners will return once the Sunday Obligation is re-introduced, so that we can have our full complement of Sunday Masses i.e. the vigil Mass on Saturday evening and three on Sunday morning. When the whole parish returns, I intend to make some minor modifications to Mass schedules. as the majority of us begin again in acquiring the habit of attendance at weekly Sunday Mass. Sunday Masses will probably be celebrated at 6pm, 8.30am, 10.15am and 12pm. As from September, Mass on Monday and Tuesday at 10am will be re- introduced and Mass on Wednesday change from 10am to 11.30am so that we can come together afterwards in the Parish Centre to share hospitality and fellowship. This would be a good opportunity to invite a friend or family member back to church who might like to join us afterwards for hospitality and refreshment. All this to be confirmed!