Sunday Homily, April 26, 2020
Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle A, April 26, 2020 by Fr. Claude Perera
First Reading: Acts 2:14,22-33 Peter with the other Apostles interpret the Jesus event.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11 God will show us the path of life.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-21 Christ’s paschal sacrifice saved Christians.
Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35 Jesus encounters the two disciples on the way to Emmaus and interprets the Jesus Event to them.
Ever since the origin of creation, countless physical chemical and biological events have occurred. But these events went uninterpreted until the Homo Sapiens appeared. The Homo Sapiens interpreted not only the countless physical chemical and biological events, but also those of history. The task of a historian is to interpret the events of history of every sort. Interpretation of history was concomitant with human civilization in every land. This process took place also in the land of Palestine. Its sages wrote down the words of their God as they heard. Being led by the Spirit of God, they were made to interpret its history from a theological point of view. These direct revelations of God and the theological interpretations of their history became the written word of God. This process went on until the death of the last apostle. Everything written in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament until the death of the last apostle is the Word of God written in the Bible. Gospels record the words of Jesus and their interpretations by the four evangelists. Acts of the Apostles is the history of the Early Christian community. NT Letters and Epistles are the authoritative apostolic interpretations of the Jesus Event and the life of the First Christian Community. After the death of the last Apostle, there are no new revelations and the Canon, or the official list of Scriptures of the Bible is closed. The Church teaches that all we need for our salvation has been written in the Bible.
Gospel readings of most Sundays during the Easter season in Cycle A, are from the Gospel of John. However, today on the Third Sunday of Easter is taken from the Gospel of Luke. What do we have in today’s gospel? As two disciples were on their way to Emmaus, Jesus himself approached them and asked them what they were discussing. He invites them to share their recent gruesome experiences surrounding His crucifixion, death and resurrection and the interpretation of those events. When the two disciples had done so, Jesus offered his own interpretation to those events, citing Jewish Scriptures. Luke the historian added his own interpretation to this event.
I said that after the death of the last apostle, there are no new revelations. But the word of God written in the Bible is constantly read out in the faith community and interpreted in the light of our basic tenets of the Christian faith. That is what we do at the Eucharist. The Eucharist has two tables, namely, the table of the Word and the Table of the Deed or Table of the Eucharist. At theTable of the Word, we read the Word of God and the preacher interprets it for us. He interprets the word not to an ideal community, but to an existential community living in a historical and ecclesial context. The agenda of the newspaper or tele journal gives us the agenda of the Church. The Church must respond to the legitimate needs and issues confronting the world.
The basic teaching of all three readings today is the power of the resurrection. What does the resurrection of Jesus (into which we were made to conform at our baptism) mean to a humanity devastated by Covid 19? Covid 19 is a definite sign and a powerful portent from God. We have tampered with the sacredness of nature created by God. Human beings have forgotten their covenantal brotherhood. Otherwise, how can around 1.85 billion people, or 36% of the world’s population, live in extreme poverty. Nearly half the population in developing countries lived on less than $1.25 a day. According to WHO, every year there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions in the world. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. Killing, violence, nuclear experiments, bio-chemical weapons, refugees, sex crimes, hate crimes, killing in the name of religion, consumerism, materialism, disruption of family life and marriage, addictions of every sort, distortion of truth, totalitarian regimes, violation of human rights etc. rampage the arena of modern human civilization at rapid rates and scales that have never been so. Covid 19 is a red signal from God to change our attitudes and ways. The resurrection of Jesus invites us to pass-over from sin to righteousness, from death to life, from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth and finally from being dead to being gloriously alive in the Risen Lord. We are a resurrected people. We were made its harbingers at baptism. Such a harbinger must carry in his/her life the watermark of the resurrection. A currency note that has no watermark is worthless. Our decision to return to our baptismal genuineness cannot be procrastinated. It must happen now, not tomorrow.