Third Sunday of Easter

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Introduce the Gospel

The journey for the disciples of Jesus from the events of Easter through to Pentecost was one of growing in understanding. It is a journey form total confusion and loss through to the confidence of Pentecost Day, when they are empowered to spread the Good News of the resurrected Christ.

We come to Easter faith by acknowledging the hungers of the heart (“our own hope had been”),
by searching the scriptures (“our hearts burning within us”),
by holding on to the story of the first disciples and witness of the women,
by the Eucharist (“the breaking of the bread”) and
by sharing our faith (“they told their story”). Is there more? As the story starts, he, the stranger, stops them. Towards the end of the story, they stop him from walking out of their lives, perhaps for ever. The moment of desire leads to the moment of recognition and a life-changing encounter.

We are going to read from Luke’s Gospel, the only account of this event in any of the Gospels.

Emmaus – The Visitation by: Jean-Marie Pirot-Arcabas

Read the GospelLuke 24: 13-35
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
For this Gospel, we offer an approach of reflecting on it as you read. At various points we interrupt the passage and insert prompts for reflection. These are in italics, larger and in a different colour text.

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognising him.  And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.  Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”  He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “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. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.  
Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

Jesus joined them and listened to them. “We had hoped….” They poured out to Jesus their disappointments. When you have been upset or disappointed who has joined you along the road? To whom have you been able to pour out your heart? Who was a ‘Jesus person’ to you, listening to you in respectful silence? To whom have you been a Jesus person?

Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

Jesus then helps them to see things in another light by opening the scriptures to them. Have you had the experience of new hopes being formed after disappointment?

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.  

We meet many people on the road of life. Usually we meet and pass on. Occasionally we meet someone whom we invite into our homes, into our hearts, in a deeper way, and in a way that leads us to know people and to be known by them in a way we had not done before. With whom has this happened for you?

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus vanished but first he had given them life and they took up life in a new way. Can you name those moments of disclosure that enabled you to return to daily life renewed? When has your heart been burning within you? What helped you to form new hopes in the light of the new reality? Who was with you in this? Where in these relationships have you experienced the presence of God or of Jesus?

 Reflect on the Gospel

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Finish this part with a Prayer

‘Stay with us, Lord Jesus, as evening falls;
Be our companion on our way.
In your mercy inflame our hearts and raise our hope,
So that, in union with our brothers and sisters
We may recognise you in the Scriptures
And in the breaking of Bread
. Amen

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.

The two on the road had an experience that they equated to their hearts burning within them.  In that sense of a lived encounter with you our God, we turn to you now in prayer.

For the Church           
That in these days, when we can no longer experience the breaking of the bread in person, we may be full of Easter joy, realising that after the Cross comes the Resurrection.  Lord Hear us

For our Young people,           
who are deprived of their classrooms, the company of their friends, and their freedom, we thank them for following the example of Christ in protecting the most vulnerable and we pray for their well-being.   Lord hear us

For those who were preparing for the Sacraments           
that they realise this pandemic will pass and that they can look forward in confidence to celebrating these moments of encounter through the sacraments. Lord hear us

For those doing essential services           
particularly for those risking their own lives in the care of others we give thanks and we pray that they may be kept safe. Lord hear us

For hearing our leaders
As Pope Francis said may we be profoundly shaken by what is happening around us, realise we are all frail, all equal, all precious, and, through knowing that, may we work to eliminate the inequality and the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family.  Lord hear us

For your own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember Lord hear us

Open our ears, O Lord, to the words of Scripture, that our hearts may burn within us. Open our hearts to share with others the faith we have received, that “we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith”. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish, to bring your prayer time to a close.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel. – Click Here

We offer a visual reflection on the Gospel

A Musical reflection on the Story of the Footprints in the Sand – Reflecting on the presence of God with us even when we are not aware which can often be our darkest moments.