Homily (Reflection) for the Third Sunday of Easter (26th April, 2020) on the GospelActs 2:14.22-33;
Ps. 15:1-2.5.7-11 (R. v. 11);
One day as one boy was travelling with his mother a man preached in the bus. During the preaching, he advised them to worship in a Bible Believing Church. The boy asked the preacher if there is any church that does not believe in the bible. He cited the Catholic Church as an example. In this homily, we shall reflect on a topic that might have bothered many based on the gospel.
Topic: What Christians ought to Do.
Today’s gospel can be divided into different parts. These parts include what bothered the disciples on their way to Emmaus, Jesus’ teaching (explanation), and the breaking of bread.
As the disciples, Cleopas and his colleague, were on their way to Emmaus, they were discussing the recent happenings in Jerusalem:
The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel …. (Lk 24:19-21).
These weighed them down as they moved along. Jesus joined them and explained all these to them using the scriptures beginning with Moses and all the prophets, cf. Lk 24:27. It is important to note here that the Moses and all the prophets Jesus used to teach the disciple was the bible.
Just like these disciples, we gather together with our burdens. In the celebration of the Mass, the congregation is given the opportunity to present to God at various stages what they come with – sorrows, joys, disappointments and so on. Readings from the bible are read and an ordained minister representing Jesus Christ helps the congregation (children of God) understand what bothers them based on the readings and supported with other biblical passages. This normally takes either the form of homily or sermon. The ordained minister is expected to bring the word of God to the level the people can understand. Just like Jesus made the disciples understand what happened, the homily helps the people look at their burdens with the light of the gospel. General intercessions and offerings conclude this part. Note that the offerings are meant for both the maintenance of the minsters and for the good of the poor, cf. 1Cor 9:13; Rom 15:26; Gal 2:10. Today however it is disheartening that many men and women of God see the offerings as something meant for them alone. Hence, the unhealthy competition with politicians and business men and women in material things. Some have even forgot that they are to preach the Word of God, cf. 1Cor 14:19; Col 3:16; Tit 2:1, 3. We must remember that the judgement of the ministers (teachers) will be very strict, cf. Jas 3:1.
Furthermore, we read that when Jesus was talking to the disciples although their hearts were burning within them, their eyes were closed from recognizing Jesus, cf. Lk 24:16, 32. They remained in that state of blindness until Jesus “… took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him ….” (Lk 24:30-31). The words Jesus spoke to them prepared them for the breaking of the bread (Holy Eucharist). When we gather today, we must remember that we ought to break the word and the bread also. This is because, if the disciples remained blind until Jesus broke the bread, what do you think that happen when people gather, share the Word, collect offerings and tithes and disperse without breaking the bread?
Again, Christ commanded us to break the bread and share the cup, cf. Lk 22:19, 1Cor 11:24-25. Paul did not mince words, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1Cor 10:16). For him, “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes” (1Cor 11:26). And going through the bible, it is clear that this command was understood and upheld right from the time of the apostles. We read about the early Christians: “… they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42, cf. Acts 2:46; 20:7, 11; 27:35). If Christ had given us this command and the apostles and those after them upheld it, where did things go wrong? Why do we disregard it today? Or is it better to obey men instead of God, cf. Acts 5:29?
One day after a Nuptial (wedding) Mass one man came up to me and other ministers and queried why he was not allowed to receive the Holy Communion despite the fact that he is a Christian. In the gospel we read: “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you” (Matt 7:6). Partaking in the Holy Eucharist symbolize that although many we are one body, cf. 1Cor 10:17.
Saint Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians warns:
Whoever … eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord … all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died (1Cor 11:27, 29-30).
It is better viewed as an act of love for one to be asked not to receive. Think about this.
Today’s gospel is the demonstration of the Eucharistic celebration by our Lord Himself and that is what Christians ought to do. Remember, it is a command, cf. Lk 22:19; 1Cor 11:24.25.
Bible Reading: Acts 2:37-42; Lk 22:14-20; Jn 6:22-71; 1Cor 10:1-22; 1Cor 11: 17-22; 23-26; 27-30.
Thought for today: Do this in remembrance of me (Lk 22:19, cf. 1Cor 11:24-25).
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, give us the grace to know the truth and the courage to follow it even if it is against our wants and likes – Amen.
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