Third Sunday of Easter

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Today’s readings look back at both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, remembering the promise given to David that Jesus would be raised from the dead. The Psalm and First Peter look forward to our lives as we await our resurrection and consider the sacrifice made by Jesus. Luke tells us the story of another experience of the risen Jesus. The disciples unknowingly walk with Jesus and tell him of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Jesus himself looks back with them to the promises made to Moses and all the prophets about his death and resurrection. Still they do not know who he is. It is only when he blesses and breaks bread and shares it with them that they realize it is Jesus. Then they race back to Jerusalem to tell the others.

Slow of Heart

After the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, two of the disciples hit the road and try to escape all the uncertainty, fear, remorse, and guilt they feel. They feel the same regret that the disciples feel in Acts and First Peter. They meet another man traveling the same road and are astonished when he seems to know nothing about the events that so occupy their thoughts. These events have consumed them, have broken their hearts, have left them downcast and blind to the very person who joins them on their journey. Their companion, Jesus, takes them through their own tradition, through the old testament promise that someone just like him would come, be killed, and would rise from the dead. Though they do not recognize him by the words alone, they do not want him to leave. Lucky for them he stays.

In the Breaking of the Bread

Despite all the hints, the disciples do not recognize Jesus. They remain consumed with their own confusion and fear and they cannot see who is right in front of them. It is only with the blessing, breaking, and sharing of the bread that they suddenly recognize Jesus. No words, however insightful, can penetrate the confusion and fear the disciples feel. Even as their “hearts were burning,” their minds did not know. How often do we not see what is right before us because we are so consumed with our own worries, regrets, concerns? Like the disciples it takes an action like the breaking of the bread, a reminder of the death of Jesus, his sacrifice, to get us to understand what our hearts already know.