Homily for third Sunday of Easter B

St. PeterOur readings today reflects the talk about the resurrected Christ. In the first reading Peter addressed the people of Israel, reminding them of how they accused and handed Jesus over to be crucified and how the father glorified him through his resurrection. This reminder was not a way of condemning the people but to make them realize that they acted out of ignorance and that the mercy of God still awaits them if they repent. Jesus himself prayed for them before he died; “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” Lk. 23:34.

Like the people of Israel, we too in our own way have handed Jesus over to be crucified, we deny him and we reject him whenever we sin. Our actions may be  out of ignorance or even intentional, but what matters now is that mercy awaits anyone who repents and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. John said in our second reading that “we have our advocate with the father, Jesus Christ who is just; he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but of the whole world’s.”

In the gospel reading we meet the disciples as they narrate their experience of the risen Lord. They had experienced the Lord on their way to a village called Emmaus; they were running away from Jerusalem probably because of shame or fear. They had hoped that Jesus Christ would save them from their political enemies, but he was arrested and crucified; for them, all hope was gone. They decided to run a way from Jerusalem, from everything that reminded them of the shameful death of Jesus Christ. On their way the Lord joined them and explained the scripture to them even though they did not recognize him.Emmaus 2 When they got to Emmaus, the village to which they were going Jesus made as if to go on, but they begged him to stay with them for the night because it was late, so, he went in and stayed with them. At the breaking of the bread they recognized himbreaking of bread but he vanished. The two disciples returned to Jerusalem that same night to tell the brothers that they have seen the Lord. They were still talking when Jesus came among them.

This was a wonderful experience; the two disciples were running away from Jerusalem out of frustration but when they met with the Lord, they went back to the same Jerusalem they were running away from to give testimonies.

There are some situation we find ourselves in, and unless we meet with the risen Lord, we cannot do anything about them. At that point we may be tempted to run away; but to whom shall we go?

Some times it appears too late to be helped, but with God nothing is too late. For the two “Emmaus disciples”, it was late for for their new found friend (The Jesus they did not recognize) to continue his journey. When they got to the village to which they were going, Jesus made as if to go on but they begged him to stay with them that night because it was late. Jesus went in and stayed with them, he was a guest in the house yet he broke bread for his host. At the breaking of the bread they recognized him. They left for Jerusalem that same evening, it was no longer late to travel. That is how God works, once you recognize the power of God around you, nothing will be too late. These two disciples had told Jesus that it was too late to continue his journey, but when they recognized him as the Lord, it was no longer late. The  power of his presence renews everything, it makes even the night as bright as the day.

What are those things in your life you feel  cannot be helped? Do you think that because of the so many disappoints in your life you cannot begin another journey of faith? The journey was too late for the disciples, but when they met with the risen Lord, the evening was like morning to them. Remember the apostles experienced disappointments, they were disappointed may be like you. Their was a time they decided to go back to fishing because the Lord was no more, and they fished all night and cought not a single fish. But when they met with the risen Lord, the catch was wonderful, Lk.5:5.

The Lord is risen, have you met with him? The disciples recognized him at the breaking of bread and we break this same bread every day. At Mass we meet with the risen Lord, we meet with the risen savior who revealed himself to his disciples at the breaking of bread. This revelation is still on; he continues to reveal himself at the breaking of the bread and the breaking of his word. As the disciples testified to his  revelation, as they spoke his word, he appeared. He is in the bread and the word.

Let us be open to his presence in our lives, let us continue to glory in the resurrection ask Jesus to open our eyes of faith to recognize him.

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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