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EASTER SUNDAY: FEAST OF THE RESURRECTION (Cycles ABC)

Readings:
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
Morning Mass: John 20:1-9 or Matthew 28:1-10 (A); Mk 16:1-8 (B); Luke 24:1-12 (C)
Afternoon or evening Mass: Luke 24:13-35

All Scripture passages are from the New American Bible unless designated NJB (New Jerusalem Bible), IBHE (Interlinear Bible Hebrew-English), IBGE (Interlinear Bible Greek-English), or LXX (Greek Septuagint Old Testament translation).  CCC designates a citation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The word LORD or GOD rendered in all capital letters is, in the Hebrew text, God's Divine Name YHWH (Yahweh).

The Theme of this Sunday's Readings: Christ the Lord is Risen Today!
Easter is the feast that celebrates life.  We do not celebrate ordinary life but extraordinary and supernatural life that is promised to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Today we express our wonder, our amazement and our gratitude to God for raising Jesus from the dead and giving us a share in His glorified life through the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Acts 10:34a, 37-43 ~ Salvation is in Christ Jesus
34a Peter proceeded to speak and said: 37 "You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.  He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  39 We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.  They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.  40 This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, 41 not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  42 He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.  43 To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.

In the first reading we hear St. Peter's speech to the household of the Roman Centurion Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile who is ready to embrace Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  The encounter takes place at a time after Jesus' resurrection as the Apostles begin to fulfill the mission Jesus gave them to carry the news of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem and out into the world (Mt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).  In his homily, Peter proclaims the living Christ and preaches the basic message of the Church:

Peter begins by announcing that the revelation of God's choice of Israel did not mean that He withheld His divine favor from the Gentiles.  He tells his Gentile converts that the revelation of God's divine plan for the salvation of humanity through Israel culminated in Jesus of Nazareth who is the Son of God.  Jesus was put to death by crucifixion, Peter says, using the significant phrase "by hanging him on a tree" (verse 39).  Being "hung on a tree" is the sign of one under the Law of Moses who was cursed by God (Dt 21:22).  Peter uses the phrase to convey that Jesus, who was without sin, took upon Himself the sins of the old covenant people and all mankind for the sake of our salvation (also see references to Dt 21:22 and Jesus' death in Jn 19:31, Acts 5:30, 13:29, and Gal 3:13).  As St. Paul explained in Galatians 3:13 ~ Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who hands on a tree," that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

Then in Acts 10:39-41, Peter testifies to having been a witness to the event that Jesus arose from the dead on the third day (as the ancients counted) and has commissioned His disciples to preach the Gospel of salvation by testifying that Jesus is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead and that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:42-43).  It is the same message the Church preaches today as she continues to fulfill the mission Jesus gave her to baptize and to spread the Gospel message of salvation to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 ~ The Day of the Lord
The response is: "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad" or "Alleluia!"
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.  2 Let the house of Israel say, "His mercy endures forever."
Response
16 The right hand of the LORD has struck with power; the right hand of the LORD is exalted.  17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.
Response
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  23 By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.
Response

Psalm 118 is a hymn of thanksgiving that is the last of the Hallel Psalms (Ps. 113-118) that were sung during the eight days of the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread in the Temple liturgy.  It was also Psalm 118:25-26 that the crowd shouted as Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Mt 21:9; Mk 11:9-10; Lk 19:38; Jn 12:13).  Psalm 118 begins by proclaiming God's enduring love for His people (verses 1-2).  Verses 16-17 speak of "the Lord's right hand" that has been "lifted high," which we understand to be Jesus Christ who has given us new life and victory over death.  Jesus is the "stone" which the "builders," who are the religious authorities of the Old Covenant, have rejected that has become the "cornerstone" of our faith (verse 22). 

Jesus will quote Psalm 118:22-23 when He is teaching in the Temple on what was probably Monday of His last week in Jerusalem, applying the verses to Himself in Matthew 21:42.  After Jesus' Resurrection, at His trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin, St. Peter will identify Jesus as the "cornerstone" and the religious authorities as the "builders" who rejected Him, applying Psalm 118:22 to Christ in Acts 4:11.  Peter will quote Psalm 118:22 again, identifying Jesus as "the cornerstone" in 1 Peter 2:7.  St. Paul will also speak of Jesus as the "cornerstone" in Romans 9:33 by referring to a related prophecy in Isaiah 28:16b and in Ephesians 2:20 he writes that the household of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone [cornerstone].  Finally, Psalm 118:23 is fulfilled in the works of Christ that are "wonderful in our eyes" (verse 23) for He has made it possible for us to receive the gift of eternal salvation.

The Second Reading Colossians 3:1-4 ~ Seek what is Above
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  2 Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.  3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  4 When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

In the First Reading, St. Peter proclaimed the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In the Second Reading, St. Paul tells Christians about the implications that Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection has for all of us. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we have died to our old sinful selves and have been raised up to new life in Christ (also see Rom 5:9-10; Eph 2:5-6).  This new life is hidden while we continue in this temporal world, but it will be realized in its fullness when we join Christ in the life to come.  St. Paul urges us to "think of what is above" or what is to come and to not focus on what is earthly and temporal (Col 3:2).  It is the risen, living Christ that is the source of our salvation.  He has freed us from the false attachments to the material things of this world, and to continue to only think on the pleasures of the temporal will make us lose sight of what is both glorious and eternal. 

Alternate Second Reading 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 ~ Seek a New Heart
6b Do you; not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?  7 Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened.  For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.  8 Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness. But with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Leaven, zyme in the Greek text of the Bible, is an old piece of sour dough used for its fermenting properties that is, in fact, a form of corruption of the original piece of dough.  When the sour zyme is added into a new batch of dough, it "corrupts" the entire batch in a process that produces a light and airy loaf of bread when baked.  In Scripture leaven is used as both a positive and a negative example.  Leavened bread was permitted to be eaten in the communal communion meal of the Toda "thanksgiving offering" (Lev 7:13/7:3) and for the "first-fruits" of the wheat harvest bread offering (Lev 23:17).  Jesus uses leaven as a positive example in His teaching on the growth of the Kingdom (Mt 13:33; Lk 13:20-21).  But, in Scripture leaven is also a symbol for sin.  Since leaven induces fermentation, which is a form of corruption, it is a realistic symbol for sin which is a source of corruption that becomes all pervasive in a life like leaven in dough.  Leaven is used by St. Paul as a negative example in this passage as it is by Jesus in Matthew 16:6-11; Mark 8:14-21; and Luke 12:1

St. Paul teaches that Christ, the true Pascal (Passover) Lamb, destroys the old leaven of sin and makes possible a holy life of which unleavened bread is the symbol (also see Gal 5:9-10).  It is the reason Latin Rite Catholics use unleavened bread in their offering for the Eucharist while the Eastern Rites use leavened bread.  The rejection of leaven that was seen as a symbol for sin is also found in the Old Testament prohibitions and commands of the Law.  For example leavened bread was prohibited in sacrifices that were burned on God's holy altar (Lev 2:4).  It was also prohibited during the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread where the Passover victim was eaten in a sacred meal on the first night of Unleavened Bread and all leaven was removed from the houses of the faithful.  In that feast leaven was viewed as a sign of the corrupting influence of evil on human nature and a symbol for sin which can easily multiply and spread through God's holy community.  All leaven, including any old bread containing leaven, was to be removed from the houses of the covenant people and no leaven products were to be consumed for a period from noon on the day of the Passover sacrifice until the completion of the feast of Unleavened Bread at the conclusion of the Sacred Assembly on the 21st of Nisan, eight days later (Ex 12:8, 15, 17-20; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Mishnah: Pesahim, 1:3-1:4; 10:1A). 

8 Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness. But with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The feast we celebrate is the Eucharist, which we must partake without sin (the yeast of malice and wickedness) and in a state of grace (with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth), as St. Paul also taught in 1 Corinthians 11:26-29.

Morning Mass: Gospel of John 20:1-9 (Cycles ABC) ~ Renewed Faith

The Gospel of John 20:1-9 ~ The Empty Tomb
1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.  2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him."  3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.  4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.  6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.  8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.  9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. 

The word "tomb" is repeated a significant seven times in nine verses (1 twice, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8).  20:1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark ... literally day one of the week, a Hebrew idiom.  Fr. Brown, in his commentary for Anchor Bible, points out that the use of the Greek word for the 4th Watch, proi [pro-ee], translated here as "early" may be evidence that John is using Roman time.  The Jews and Romans had the night watches separated into the same time divisions but the Jews did not use this word for the 4th Watch which was from 3 AM to dawn.  The use of this word and that it is still dark suggests it is the time of the 4th Watch Roman time (the Roman day began at 12 midnight).

... the first day of the week for the Jews is the day we call "Sunday" (the Sabbath was the only day of the Jewish week that had a name).  Sunday was also the first day of Creation (Saturday was day #7 therefore day #1 had to be Sunday).  Resurrection Sunday is the first day of the New Creation in Christ!  According to the schedule of the 7 annual Sacred Feasts, this day is the Feast of Firstfruits which in Leviticus 23:5-14 was celebrated the day after the Sabbath of the week of Passover/Unleavened Bread.  This day was to become the New Covenant Sabbath: the day set aside for man to commune with God.  Christians call it the "Lord's Day," the day of worship for New Covenant believers.  After Pentecost (which also fell on a Sunday) it became the custom for the New Covenant Church to worship on the first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2; Rev 1:10).  As Catholics we still observe the Old Covenant custom of the day beginning at sundown and so our Sunday Vigil Mass is supposed to take place at sundown on Saturday (unfortunately not always strictly observed).   

John 20:1 seems to indicate that Mary Magdala is alone, although "the other Mary" (of Clopas) may have accompanied her or followed soon after her (see Mt 28:1).  There may have been two or three groups of women going to the tomb that morning.  The other Gospels list Mary Magdala as one of several women who went to the tomb of Christ on Resurrection Sunday.  Mark 16:1 names these women, along with Salome the mother of James and John Zebedee, at the tomb just when the sun "had risen", or "was rising."  Luke does not mention how many women went to the tomb; he writes that they went "at the first sign of dawn."  It may be that Mary (or both Marys) went before dawn and the others came at first light.    See the chart "Harmony of the Gospels: The Resurrection".

But Mary, the mother of Jesus is missing.  Perhaps because she knows He is no longer in the tomb.  Her Son has risen as God's Firstfruits of the New Creation on the Jewish Feast of Firstfruits.  The disciple Mary of Magdala, a woman from a fishing village on the shores of the Galilee, is a central figure in the story of the Resurrection.  She is mentioned by name twelve times in the Gospels ( Mt 27:56, 61; 28:1; Mk 15:40, 47; 16:1, 9; Lk 8:2; 24:10; Jn 19:25; 20:1, 18).  She is only mentioned at the cross and in the Resurrection accounts with the exception of Luke 8:2 where we learn that Jesus had exorcised this woman, casting out seven evil spirits.  Luke also includes the information that she is one of several wealthy women (with Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward, and Susanna) who provided for Jesus and his disciples out of their own resources.  According to some traditions, she is the sinful woman who anointed Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee, but the identity of that woman as Mary Magdala is not confirmed, nor is she ever identified in Scripture as a prostitute.

Mark and Luke record that the women had come to the tomb with aromatic resins and herbs to anoint Jesus' body on this 3rd day that Jesus was in the tomb (as the ancients counted with no zero place value).  The women did not come the day before because the day after the crucifixion (beginning at sundown) was the Jewish Sabbath.   The Sabbath was a day of rest and no work was to be accomplished, even preparing the dead.  The women met on the way to the tomb. The Gospel of Mark records that the women were concerned about who would help them roll the stone away from the tomb entrance, but when they arrived they discovered that the stone, which was very big, had already been rolled back (Mk 16:3-4).

Mary saw the stone removed from the tomb.  2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved...
Here the expression "the other disciple" is joined for the first time to "the beloved" or "the one whom Jesus loved" which helps us identify the "other disciple" who had access to the house of the high priest Annas, as John, or at least as the same man as the "beloved disciple."  You will notice that from the time of the preparation of the Upper Room for the Passover Meal in Luke's Gospels and from now on in the Gospel of John as well as in Acts of Apostles and Galatians, Peter will always be paired with John.  This pairing helps to confirm the identity of the "beloved Apostle" as St. John Zebedee, as he is identified by the Fathers of the Church (see Lk 22:8; Acts 1:13; 3:1, 3, 4, 11; 4:1, 3, 7, 13, 19, 23; 8:14, 17, 25; Gal 2:9).

and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him." 
Mary's "we" confirms the Synoptic accounts that other women were with her.  Luke 24:10-11 records that Joanna and Mary the mother of James went with her to tell the Apostles the news of Christ's Resurrection.  The Gospel of Luke records that at first the Apostles did not believe the women (Lk 24:9-11). 

John 20:3-5 ~  So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.  4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
If this "other disciple" is indeed St. John, he is a much younger man than St. Peter and it is reasonable that he should run faster.  He did not enter the tomb first because he recognized the priority and the superiority of Peter, the one to whom Jesus entrusted the "keys of the kingdom" (Mt 16:16-18).  From now on, when the Apostles are listed Peter is listed first, as always in all three previous lists with John listed after his elder brother James, but from this point on John is listed immediately after Peter (see Acts 1:13).

There must have been enough daylight to see into the interior of the tomb.  This suggests that the opening of the tomb faced east.  There may be a connection to the instructions for God's Tabernacle that the entrance was to always to face toward the east (Ex 27:13; 38:13).  The Temple in Jerusalem was also built facing east, as were all early Christian churches including St. Peter's in Rome.

John 20:6-8 ~ When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.  8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 
The Biblical text mentions linen cloths in the plural.  This reference is probably to the sidon, or burial shroud, and the soudarion, or cloth that had covered Jesus' head when He was taken down from the cross and then used in His burial.  The Gospel of John mentions such a cloth as part of Lazarus' burial garb (see Jn 11:44).  It was the practice for a cloth to be passed under the chin and tied on top of the head to prevent the mouth of the deceased from falling open.  The disciple probably observed these cloths lying on the shelf of the tomb where the body had lain.  The observation that the one cloth was still rolled up could indicate it was still rolled in an oval loop and the ends tied as it had been when it had been around Jesus' head and chin.  It was separate perhaps because it was still lying where Christ's head had been while the shroud itself was in a heap at the other end of the burial bed or on the floor of the tomb.  The shroud of Turin is over 14 feet long.

There are two relics known as the soudarion of Christ (also spelled sudarium).  One is the relic of the image of the face of Jesus on the veil of the woman who has come to be known as Veronica (name meaning "true image").  This holy cloth is in Rome.  The other is the cloth that was placed over Christ's face when His body was removed from the cross and used in His burial because it contained His bloodstains.  The blood must accompany the body; that is why a person who died a violent death was not washed in preparation for burial.  This face-cloth soudarion is kept in Oviado, Spain and the blood on this cloth exactly matches the blood type of the bloodstains on the face of the man of the Shroud of Turin; they are type AB positive.

and he saw and believed.  What did the "beloved disciple" see that made him believe?  What he believed, of course, was that Jesus had been raised from the dead, but was it simply the empty tomb and the burial clothes that brought about his belief?  What did he see that made him believe Jesus had been resurrected?  This is a mystery.  Some modern scholars contend that this disciple did not suddenly come to believe in the Resurrection but was now convinced that Mary Magdala had spoken the truth when she said that the body was missing.  Ancient scholars have made the suggestion that it is seeing the burial clothes left behind that supported his belief in Jesus' Resurrection because if Jesus' body had been taken by grave robbers they would have taken the body still wrapped in the clothes to avoid drawing attention to themselves; in addition, burial cloths were considered valuable.  St John Chrysostom (martyred 407) supports this argument: "If anyone had removed the body, he would not have stripped it first; nor would he have taken the trouble to remove and roll up the soudarion and put it in a place by itself" (Homilies on St. John LXXXV, 4). 

Ancient scholars have also suggested that it was the position or form of the clothes and not just their presence that convinced the "beloved disciple."  It is their suggestion that Jesus emerged from His burial clothes in a supernatural manner that allowed Him to pass through the clothes still leaving them virtually in place, still wrapped and tied like an empty cocoon.   They also contend that the force of the words mean much more that simply acceptance of Mary's statement but rather that it is the beloved disciple who is the first to believe in the risen Savior in his "seeing and believing"!  If the Shroud of Turin is the burial shroud that truly bears the imprint of the Resurrected Savior, perhaps this disciple saw the imprint of Jesus on the shroud and believed.

John 20:9 ~  For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. 
When Mary Magdala first came to them, the disciples did not believe her words that Jesus was not in the tomb.  Didn't it occur to them then that He had been resurrected?  It hadn't occurred to Mary (see Jn 20:11-13).  They knew but they didn't understand.  St. Matthew tells us that even the chief priests and the Pharisees knew of Jesus' claim that in three days He would arise from the dead (Mt 27:62-66).  It is the reason they requested that Pilate must place a guard and seal the tomb.  Then too, Jesus also prophetically predicted His Resurrection repeatedly in His attempt to prepare His disciples:

Jesus' Prophecies of His Resurrection
GOSPEL VERSES
Matthew 12:38-40; 16:21; 17:9, 23; 20:18, 19; 26:32; 27:63
Mark 8:31-9:1; 9:10, 31; 10:32-34; 14:28, 58
Luke 9:22-27
John 2:18-22; 12:34; chapters 14-16

Jesus not only predicted His Resurrection but He also emphasized that His Resurrection from the dead would be the prophetic "sign" to authenticate His claim that He is the Messiah:

GOSPEL VERSES
Matthew 12:1-8; 16:21; 17:9, 22, 23; 20:18, 19; 26:32
Mark 9:10
Luke 9:22-27, 44
John 2:18-22

Perhaps they were thinking of resurrection in the same way that Martha understood in chapter 11 when Jesus spoke to her of Lazarus' resurrection.  She assumed He was speaking of the resurrection at the final judgment (Jn 11:24).  Or, perhaps they "knew" in the same way that we "know" that one day we will face a final judgment before the throne of God when we will be held accountable for our lives.  We "know" but do we really understand?

But after seeing the interior of the tomb they not only believe but now they recalled the Scriptures that prophesized these events.  It is possible that John is referring to Psalms 16:10, to Hosea 6:2, to Jonah 2:1, or to Jonah 2:1.  But it is also possible that since there is no specific Old Testament reference here it may be that John's intent is to suggest that all of Old Testament Scripture had been fulfilled in Jesus' Resurrection.  This is what Jesus will explain to the disciples on their way to Emmaus on Resurrection Sunday in Luke chapter 24:25-27  ~ And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!  How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"  then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.  And again to the Apostles in Luke 24:44-45 ~ He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled."  Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.  St Paul will make this same reference to Scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NJB) ~ The tradition I handed on to you in the first place, a tradition which I had myself received, was that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried; and that on the third day, he was raised to life, in accordance with the Scriptures...  It is a truth we especially acknowledge on the celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of our Savior on Easter Sunday as we too acknowledge the empty tomb and receiving Christ in the Eucharist we believe!

The alternate Gospel readings for each of the cycles are: Matthew 28:1-10 (A); Mark 16:1-8 (B) or Luke 24:1-12 (C).  Each of these readings offers similar information concerning the Resurrection as the Gospel of John reading.

The Gospel Reading for an afternoon or evening Mass is Luke 24:13-35 ~ Meeting the Messiah on the Road to Emmaus
13 That very day two of them were going to a village seven miles [sixty stadia] from Jerusalem called Emmaus, 14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.  14 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, 16 but their eyes were prevented [held/bound] from recognizing him [not to recognize (epiginosoko) him].  17 He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?"  They stopped, looking downcast.  18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?"  19 And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"  They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.  21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.  22 Some women from our group [from among us], however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.  24 Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see."  25 And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!  How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!  26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"  27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.  28 As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.  29 But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."  So he went in to stay with them.  30 And it happened that, while he was [reclining] with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  31 With that their eyes were opened and they recognized [epiginosoko] him, but he vanished from their sight.  32 Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"  33 So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them 34 who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"  35 Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them [opened their eyes] in the breaking of the bread. 
[..] =
literal translation (Interlinear Bible: Greek-English, vol. IV, page 244-245).

The story of Jesus' Resurrection in Luke 24:1-12 is very similar to the story recorded in St. John's Gospel.  However in 24:13-35, St. Luke records an encounter between the resurrected Christ and two disciples that is only found in the Gospel of Luke

Luke 24:13-16 ~ That very day two of them were going to a village seven miles [sixty stadia] from Jerusalem called Emmaus, 14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.  14 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, 16 but their eyes were prevented [held/bound] from recognizing him [not to recognize (epiginosoko) him]. 
It is still Resurrection Sunday and the glorified Christ meets two of His disciples on their journey to their home village.  St. Mark mentions this meeting with the Emmaus disciples and also His appearance later to the eleven in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, but St. Luke includes a more detailed account of Jesus' encounter with the Emmaus disciples (Mk 16:12-17). 

Luke 24:17-18 ~ 17 He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?"  They stopped, looking downcast.  18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?" 
One of the disciples is a man named Cleopas (his name is also spelled Clopas and Cleophas; see Jn 19:25).  According the Church Fathers, Cleopas was a kinsman of Jesus and the father of Simon/Simeon, the second Christian Bishop of Jerusalem.  The early Church historian Hegesippus (early to mid-2nd century AD) records that Cleopas was the uncle of Jesus and the brother or brother-in-law of St. Joseph (Church History, Book IV, chapter 22).  Jesus' disciple, Mary of Cleopas/Clopas, is either Cleopas' wife or daughter; she is only called Mary of Cleopas and never Cleopas' wife as the mother of James and John  is called Zebedee's wife or Joanna is called Cuza's wife (see Jn 19:25).  That Cleopas was the brother of St. Joseph is also mentioned by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (in the Holy Land) in his 4th century AD history of the Church (Church History, III.11.1 page 146).  Most of the Church Fathers believed that the two disciples are Cleopas and his son Simon/Simeon, the future second Christian bishop of the church in Jerusalem.

The two disciples are broken-hearted over the events of the past three days and appear to doubt the testimony of the women as well as Peter and John's report (Jn 20:1-8) concerning the empty tomb and the possibility that Jesus is raised from the dead.  The obvious question is why don't they recognize Jesus as the man walking with them?  The literal Greek is "their eyes were held/bound [krateo] in order that they might not recognize/know/perceive [epiginosoko] him" (Johnson, page 393; IBGE, page 244).  In other words, they were prevented from recognizing Jesus.  He clouded their eyes in the same way that their faith in comprehending His resurrection has been clouded.  This condition of their "held eyes" will be reversed in verse 31. 

Luke 24:19 ~ And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"  They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.  21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.  22 Some women from our group [from among us], however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.  24 Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see."
The disciples refer to Jesus as a "prophet."  St. Luke will refer to Jesus as a "prophet" five times in his Gospel (4:24; 7:16, 39; 13:33; 24:19) and three times in Acts (Acts 3:22-23; 7:37; 8:34-35) for a total of eight times.  It is a title that depicts Jesus as the new Moses of the new Exodus and the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:17-19 (see Lk 9:31 when Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus about His "exodus" from Jerusalem).  The two disciples express this same hope of a "new Moses" in verse 21 when they say they hoped that Jesus would be the one to "redeem" Israel.  It is a theme of redemption that St. Luke began in 1:68 and 2:38, but Jesus' "redemption of Israel" is to be understood in spiritual terms as the restored faithful of the covenant people of God (see Acts 13:23).  Notice that St. Luke confirms the visit of the women disciples to the tomb recorded in the other Gospels and Peter and John's visit to the empty tomb that was recorded in the Gospel reading from St. John (Jn 20:1-10).

Luke 24:25-27 ~ And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!  How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!  26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"  27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.
The disciples share their misgivings concerning the events of the past week with their fellow traveler, and Jesus admonishes them for their doubts in verse 25, calling them "slow of heart."  We tend to think of the heart as the seat of emotion, but for the ancients the heart signified the center of intelligence and reason and the true moral essence of a person (see similar references to "heart" for example in the Greek text of Luke 1:17, 51, 66; 2:19; 21:14 and 34).

... to believe all that the prophets spoke! 
There are the two significant points not to be missed in Jesus' statement concerning belief about Him concerning the prophets:

  1. Belief in Jesus and His mission is connected to a proper understanding of the Scriptures.
  2. "All that the prophets spoke" implies that all of Scripture bears a prophetic and Messianic significance.

26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
 Jesus' rhetorical question demands an affirmative answer and refers to God's Divine Plan for man's salvation in terms of the prophecies of God's "Suffering Servant," especially those described in Isaiah chapters 52-53.  To "enter into his glory" is the same as entering into His Kingdom.   Jesus then began to teach them, starting with the Torah (the five books of Moses from Genesis to Deuteronomy) and continuing with the Psalms (Acts 2:29-30) and books of the prophets.  Jesus gave them a Scripture lesson on all the passages that were prophecies about Him and His mission of salvation. 

Luke 24:28-29 ~ As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.  29 But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."  So he went in to stay with them. 
Since the Jewish day started at sundown, "evening" was any time from noon until twilight.  Notice that Jesus does not force Himself on them.  Christ is a gentleman; He waits for our invitation.

Luke 24:30 ~  And it happened that, while he was [reclining]*  with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  *The literal word is "reclining;" it was the way free men ate while slaves ate standing up.  They also reclined at the Last Supper.
Still not recognizing Jesus, they invite Him to their home to have dinner and to spend the night.  What takes place during the meal "opens their eyes" concerning the traveler's true identity.  There is a significant similarity between Jesus' actions at the meal with the Emmaus disciples and the events of the Last Supper in Luke 22:14-19:

Luke 22:14-19 Luke 24:30
he took his place at table with the apostles while he was with them at table
Then he took the bread  he took the bread
said the blessing said the blessing
broke it and gave it to them broke it and gave it to them

Jesus' actions at the Emmaus meal are the very same actions of Jesus at the Last Supper as He took, blessed, and broke the bread (see Lk 22:19).  It was in the "breaking of the bread" that their spiritual eyes are opened and they recognize the Christ! 

Luke 24:31-32 ~ With that their eyes were opened and they recognized [epiginosoko] him, but he vanished from their sight.  32 Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"
This is the second use of the Greek word epiginosoko that was also used in verse 16.  In contrast to their eyes "being bound" in 24:16 and their failure to "recognize/know" [epiginosoko] Jesus, their eyes are now "opened."  They do not just "see" Jesus they "recognize/know" Him.
Recognizing the true Messianic significance of the Scriptures, they were also able to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

This is a reversal of the condition of Adam and Eve when their "eyes were opened" to sin.  The wording "their eyes were opened" is the same in the Greek Septuagint account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:7 as in Luke 24:31 and 35.  Jesus "opened" the Scriptures to them in the same way that He brought about the "opening" of their eyes in the breaking of the bread in verse 31.  Now mankind's eyes in every generation will continue to be opened to Christ in the breaking of the bread in the Eucharist. 

Luke 24:33-35 ~  So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them 34 who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"  35 Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them [opened their eyes] in the breaking of the bread.  
They did what all of us must do when we recognize Jesus in the midst of our lives; they immediately wanted to share their experience of the Christ!  Is Christ the Lord "risen today" in your life?  How do you share your experience of Christ?  Do you share your experience of Christ with others by talking about the difference Jesus has made in your life?  Have you considered joining a Bible Study to learn about how God's plan for man's salvation in the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ so you will understand and recognize Christ like the Emmaus disciples in the "breaking of the bread" that becomes Christ in the Eucharist?  

Appendix:

 

THE EIGHT DAYS OF THE FIRST THREE JEWISH ANNUAL SACRED FEASTS
FULFILLED IN JESUS' PASSION AND RESURRECTION
These are shadows of things to come; the reality belongs to Christ (Col 2:17)
(all Biblical quotations are from the New American Bible translation)
FEAST OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE AND  SIGNIFICANCE FUTURE SIGNIFICANCE FULFILLED IN JESUS THE MESSIAH
PASSOVER 14th of Abib (Nisan) The sacrifice of the unblemished male Passover victims in preparation for the coming judgment of the tenth plague.
Ex 12:1-7; Lev 23:5; Num 28:16; Josh 5:10
Prefigures Christ, the perfect, unblemished victim of sacrifice that ineffective animal sacrifice pointed to.
Lev 17:11; Ps 51:16-17; Is 1:11-17; Jer 6:20; Hos 6:6.
Blood Sacrifice for Atonement: Last legitimate O.T. sacrifice that prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Jn 1:28; Heb 9:15, 18-23, 26-28; 10:4-10; 1 Pt 1:18-19.
UNLEAVENED BREAD
15th – 21st of Abib (Nisan)
A pilgrim feast that began at sundown on the night of the Passover sacrifice with two sacred assemblies on the mornings of the 15th and 21st
Eating the sacred meal of the Passover victim with unleavened bread.  The redemption and salvation of Israel from the death of the tenth plague under the sign of the blood of the sacrificial victim.
Ex 12:7-27, 43-50; 23:14; 34:18-23; Lev 23:6-8; Num 28:17-25; Dt 16:16; 2 Chr 8:13
Promised redemption and salvation from sin and death.
Ps 40:7-9/39:7-9; Is 45:17; 51:6-8; 61:10-11.
The Last Supper and the Crucifixion = New Covenant sacrifice of redemption, justification and sanctification.
Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20; Rom 5:9; 2 Cor 5:7, 21; Heb 8:13; 10:16-18; 1 Pt 2:24.
FIRSTFRUITS
On the day after the Sabbath of the holy week of the feast of Unleavened Bread = the first day of the week which is our Sunday
The offering of the "first fruits" of the harvest; Israel's gratitude to God as the redeemed "first fruits" of the people of God in the Exodus liberation.
Lev 23:9-14; 26:1-11
The promise of the resurrection of the dead.
Ex 3:15; Hos 6:2; Amos 6:2; Lk 20:37-38
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of our future resurrection.
Mt 28:1, 6-7; Mk 16:1-6.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep ...
1 Cor 15:20
Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2013

Catechism References:
Acts 10:38 (CCC 438, 453, 486, 1289) 10:39 (CCC 597); 10:41 (CCC 659, 995); 10:42 (CCC 679)
Psalm 118:22 (CCC 587, 756)
Colossians 3:1-3 (CCC 655); 3:1 (CCC 1002); 3:3 (CCC 665, 1003, 1420); 3:4 (CCC 1003, 2772)
1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 (CCC 129), 5:7 (CCC 608, 610, 613)
Gospel for morning Mass: John 20:1 (CCC 2174); 20:2 (CCC 640); 20:5-7 (CCC 640); 20:6 (CCC 640); 20:7 (CCC 515); 20:8 (CCC 640)
Gospel for afternoon or evening Mass: Luke 24:13-35 (CCC 1094, 1329, 1347); 24:15 (CCC 645, 659); 24:17 (CCC 643); 24:21 (CCC 439); 24:22-23 (CCC 640); 24:25-27 (CCC 112, 601); 24:26-27 (CCC 572, 652); 24:26 (CCC 555, 710); 24:26 (CCC 555, 710); 24:27 (CCC 555, 2625); 24:30 (CCC 645, 1166); 24:31 (CCC 659); 24:34 (CCC 552, 641)

Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2014