On the road to Emmaus two disciples encountered Jesus as he explained the Scriptures and broke the bread. These two elements – Scripture and Sacrament – are the core of every Mass. As Christians have been nourished by the Eucharist from that very first Easter, may we continue to grow in grace every time we encounter the Lord in the breaking of the bread.
The Lord feeds the 5000 and sustains them body and soul. This strength will empower the disciples to face their difficulties with joy, reminding us that every time we receive the Eucharist we are fed by the Lord.
In the Gospel of Mark the Lord says, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” As we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark today, may our lives offer a living witness to the Good News as we share our faith with those around us.
The readings this week are filled with power and zeal. The resurrection of Jesus inspires the early Church, and their encounter with the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread testifies to the enduring grace we receive every time we come to Mass. Take a look:
1st Reading – Peter boldly proclaims the Good News to the crowd
Psalm – “Lord, you will show us the path of life.”
2nd Reading – the resurrection renews us to live by God’s grace
Gospel – Jesus explains the Scriptures and is made known in the breaking of the bread
A pattern emerges: an encounter with the Risen Lord changes our lives in dynamic and life-giving ways. Peter is no longer timid or afraid to stand up for Christ; Christians conduct themselves with faith and hope; the disciples have their minds opened and hearts burning as Jesus is present to them in the breaking of the bread.
It is the depth of this change that bears close inspection. These people are renewed and empowered with a strength and conviction that can inspire us today. They burn with the flame of faith, and through the example and witness of their lives the Gospel message will spread like wildfire.
This is our task today. As we look to the early Church, we acknowledge that NOTHING was easy for them. Their trust in God put them in the path of tremendous obstacles, trials and persecutions. And yet with God’s grace their triumphed…and we can, too.
I’d like to suggest a simple two-step process:
Where do we encounter the Lord in our lives today?
How can we invite others to experience what gives us life?
The first question requires us to pause and reflect on the prayers, sacraments, fellowship and other life-giving activities that renew our hearts. The second question challenges us to step out in faith and invite those we know and love to encounter the Risen Lord. May the faith of the early Church inspire us to proclaim the Good News with passion and joy!
The power of the resurrection transformed the early Church, showing us today that the Risen Lord continues to change our hearts and lives with the grace of His love. May we respond with an eager and lively faith!
When the going gets tough, the tough live their faith! The early Church faced opposition even as it was filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. We, too, call upon the Lord to face our trials with the same strength that inspired and strengthened the disciples.