Third Sunday of Easter
Points to note
The reading requires a little explaining in order to highlight certain interesting features that the author has included into the passage. Following that, the idea of the disciples not recognising Jesus until he broke the bread is an interesting one to explore. This links with the idea of the Eucharist as the commemoration of Jesus.
The idea in this reading is also that of Jesus eating together with his apostles Basically, we say that a family that eats together stays together: the idea being that eating somehow has a bonding effect on people.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Lord Jesus, explain the Bible to us.
Make our hearts burn within us as you talk to us.
The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
All: Glory to you O Lord
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 or 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 was 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 seem 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 the 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 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 in the breaking of bread.
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Do we have any close friend or relative who have left us? Discuss how we remember them. Through photos, videos or gifts. How many of your daddies and mommies have your photograph in their wallets?
Go through the reading again to identify some interesting features of the reading:
- How many times did Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection: to Mary Magdalene; on the road to Emmaus; in the locked room; to Thomas, at the lakeside.
- The disciples did not first recognise Jesus. This is the same as in some of the other resurrection stories: who else? Mary Magdalene, the disciples when they met Jesus by the lakeside. When did they properly recognise Jesus? When he started eating with them, just like at the lakeside.
In this reading, when did the disciples recognised Jesus? Emphasise that it was during the breaking of bread. Why did they remember Jesus at the breaking of bread? Explore the earlier occasion when Jesus broke bread with his disciples – at the Last Supper.
Explain that in those days, there were no photographs, videos and the like. So, to remember him, Jesus asked them to re-perform the Last Supper. Do this in memory of me, he said.
For the younger children
Discuss how they would want to remember Jesus. Emphasise that Jesus want us to remember him by being obedient to him. How would we do that?
For older children, especially those preparing First Communion
Discuss what took place at the last supper. Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples. These four actions are repeated from other occasions: the feeding of the five thousand, for example. So, Jesus repeated them often enough for them to be imprinted in the minds of the apostles so that they will remember his actions.
Then he took the cup of wine, which he said was his blood of the everlasting covenant. Explain what a covenant is. In ancient days, people seal a contract by sacrificing animals like pigeons, etc. Jesus sealed his contract with us with his blood instead of blood of animals. Discuss what was the agreement between Jesus and us.
Go through the words of the institution of the Lord’s Supper carefully. Discuss where the children would have heard it before. Emphasise that re-enacting the Lord’s Supper is our way of remembering Jesus and what he commanded us to do, in the absence of photos, videos and tapes.