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Homily for third Sunday of Easter B

13 Apr 2018, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

St. PeterOur readings today reflect the talk about the resurrected Christ. In the first reading, Peter addressed ancient Israel, reminding them 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 God’s mercy 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 believes 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 away 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. When they met with the Lord, they went back to the same Jerusalem they were running away from to give testimonies.

We sometimes find ourselves so helpless and confused, unable to do anything about our situation.  We may at that point be tempted to run away, but to whom shall we go?

It sometimes appears too late to be helped, but with God, nothing is too late. For the two “Emmaus disciples,” the time was far spent for their newfound 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 him that it was too late to continue his journey, but it was no longer late when they recognized him as the Lord. The power of his presence renews everything; it makes even the night as bright as day.

What are those things in your life you feel cannot be helped? Do you think a new beginning is impossible because of previous failures? The journey was too late for the disciples, but the evening was like morning to them when they met with the risen Lord. Remember, the apostles experienced disappointments; they were disappointed, may be like you. There was a time they decided to go back to fishing because the Lord was no more, and they fished all night and caught not a single fish. But when they met with the risen Lord, the catch was wonderful, Lk.5:5.

The Lord has 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 bread and in 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.