“Lord, let your face shine on us!.” Ps 4:7
You can find today’s readings here.
Happy third Sunday of Easter! We are halfway to the Solemnity of the Ascension and then we celebrate Pentecost! Easter is such a great liturgical season!
The more I read about Christ’s appearances after His Resurrection, the more I can’t help but chuckle some. Christ uses his new body to surprise his disciples in different ways. In the passage before today’s Gospel reading in Luke, Jesus disguises himself as a strange man to approach Cloepas and a fellow disciple as they were traveling to Emmasus. For some he appears out of thin air, and then will give them a hard time for being surprised, like in today’s reading.
I love the story that is referenced at the beginning of today’s Gospel reading. In it, Cleopas and the other disciple remained in Christ’s presence the rest of the day without knowing his true identity. It was not until that night, when Jesus broke bread with them, blessed it, and gave it to them, that they saw through his disguise! What a perfect illustration of the Eucharist Jesus gave us! Just like Jesus was disguised as a strange man, but still truly, authentically and wholly his divine self, Christ is also disguised as bread and wine in the Eucharist (the very thing he was holding). Amazing!!
“Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made
known to them in the breaking of the bread. ” Luke 24:35
This was so amazing that the disciples are still reeling over this encounter with Christ, and sharing it with friends when he appears yet again! It is almost as if to truly drive home His Presence in the Eucharist. When Christ appears this time it is in his familiar body, with the wounds in his extremities to help their unbelief, but also to remind us of his death for our sins. Christ explains His fulfillment of the Scriptures, Scriptures these men knew very well, but Christ continues to teach his followers in order to complete his deposit of faith as he “interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.” Lk 24
Christ, in his explanations and interpretations to the disciples, reminds them, “that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
“He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only
but for those of the whole world.” 1 Jn 2
In the first readings of today, we see that the apostles went on to teach just as Jesus had instructed. After his ascension, they continued to teach that Christ died for the forgiveness of all our sins. Peter made clear that no sin was too great for forgiveness, including the greatest sin ever committed, that of the crucifixion of Christ Jesus.
I love how John is sure to say, “The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments” and “whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” This so succinctly describes Catholic understanding of God working in our souls, making us ready for his kingdom. It is in submitting to him in everything, in the commandments, in everyday life, that God is able to transform our souls with grace into a clearer image of Himself.
The last words John recorded of our Savior in his Gospel are, “You are witnesses of these things.” Let us all submit to Christ such that we can be witnesses to the world of his saving grace!
Lord, let your face shine on us!