OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Third Sunday of Easter (Year A)

During the Season of Easter we walk with the Risen Lord, enjoying his appearing to his disciples. Today’s gospel is one of the loveliest accounts of his appearing - and one especially important for the reader. Jesus appears and teaches the two disciples, by reference to the Scriptures, the meaning of his death. This is very close to the way in which the neophytes (newly baptised) would continue to be taught, through hearing the scriptures, during Easter. The reader should take to herself or himself the words of the Gospel Acclamation: “Lord Jesus, explain the scriptures to us. Make our hearts burn within us as you talk to us.”

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 2:14.22-33.
 
Two things to remember about this speech: it comes immediately after the Spirit is poured out on the apostles in the Upper Room, and after this discourse Acts tells us ‘about three thousand’ were baptised - Peter was certainly convincing. You must be as well! The first paragraph is fairly straightforward: Peter is not haranguing the people but reminding them of recent events (50 days ago). What they are less aware of comes from ‘You killed him...’ onwards, especially the words ‘God raised him to life’. Imagine the audacity of this statement, spoken to a crowd that probably witnessed the crucifixion. The crowd is Jewish, so Peter appeals to Scripture (Psalm 16); be careful to read the prophecy in a slightly different tone of voice, so your listeners know this is a quotation. Peter then has to explain why David is not speaking about himself in this Psalm - this is what the last paragraph is about: Jesus is the one referred to. Then Peter’s tone becomes more ecstatic: ‘God raised this man Jesus to life and all of us are witnesses to that.’ Personal testimony was very important then, so this line is most significant. There should almost be breathlessness in church when this exciting reading is finished.
 
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-21.
 
This is a continuation of last week’s reading - remind yourself what it said. Last week Peter was writing about the effects of baptism, and continues this today, by talking about us being freed from a useless way of life, to a life of faith and hope. Baptism is our taking part in Jesus’ death and resurrection. This reading consists of three long sentences: you will need to work them out well beforehand, especially the second. In the first sentence ‘home’ refers to heaven: we must live ‘scrupulously careful’ lives here on earth once we are baptised. We willingly do this because our ransom was paid in the most precious substance imaginable - the blood of Christ, the sinless one. And this has given us the greatest gift: faith in God, revealed in Christ Jesus.
Caravaggio "The Supper at Emmaus"

From the Catechism

The Eucharist and the experience of the disciples at Emmaus
CCC 1346-1347

The apostles and disciples as witnesses of the Resurrection
CCC 642-644, 857, 995-996

Christ the key to interpreting all Scripture
CCC 102, 601, 426-429, 2763

Jesus, the Lamb offered for our sins
CCC 457, 604-605, 608, 615-616, 1476, 1992


CCC 1346-1347
The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity:
  • the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions;
  • the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.
The liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form "one single act of worship"; the Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord.
Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table "he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them."

Gospel Wordsearch