Third Sunday of Easter (B)
April 14, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.




Rite of Sprinkling





May your people exult for ever, O God,
in renewed youthfulness of spirit,
so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption,
we may look forward in confident hope
to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Reading  Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

At the temple gate, Peter addressed the people: 13 “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14 “But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 17 “And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 “Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9

R/. Lord, let your face shine on us.

Second Reading 1 JN 2:1-5A

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him.

Alleluia CF. LK 24:32


Gospel LK 24:35-48

The two disciples told the eleven and their companions what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then 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, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.”

Catena Nova

For forty days Holy Wisdom gave us ample evidence that she was “seeking high and low for souls worthy of her, and displaying to them along their paths her smiling face, courting them with all the solicitude of her providence.” (Wisdom 6:16-17). Jesus so willed to reveal himself as this Wisdom of which the Scripture speaks, and on that day to manifest physically what he reveals spiritually day after day; that is, to show us the smiling face on the roads of justice. That is why he went that day on the way to meet women returning from the tomb and, on the road once again, to show himself to the disciples on their way to Emmaus (Bl. Guerric of Igny).

Anyone who doesn’t live as Christ lived can’t rightly claim to break the bread of life which Christ wants to give us and so can’t have the joy he had. The Kingdom of God consists not in words but in power and deeds and joy. If we would follow Christ we must accept the condition of a servant and not even seek that of a superior. It is when you have emptied yourself as a servant that you know the Lord through the “breaking of the bread”. True humility opens our eyes and teaches us that we ourselves are nothing. When we humble self more and more we grow more and more in lived knowledge of Christ, our God for this knowledge is love. To know God is to love as God loves. To gain such knowledge go to Christ and learn to break yourself as bread for others (Anonymous 12th Century Homilist).

"Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in the way?" said those happy pilgrims of Emmaus, speaking of the flames of love with which they were touched by the word of faith. But if divine truths be so sweet, when proposed in the obscure light of faith, O God, what shall they be when we shall contemplate them in the light of the noonday of glory! (St. Francis de Sales)

Who among us does not find the inn of Emmaus to be a familiar abode? Who has not walked this road one evening when all seemed lost? Christ died in us. They had taken him from us: the world, philosophers and scholars, our passion. There was no more Jesus for us on the earth. We were following a way, and someone was walking by our side. We were alone and we were not alone. It is evening. Here's an open door, the darkness of a room where the fireplace sheds light upon the clay floor and makes the shadows move. O broken bread! O breaking of the bread accomplished in spite of so much misery (François Mauriac).

Amid our questions and difficulties, and even our bitter disappointments, the divine Wayfarer continues to walk at our side, opening to us the Scriptures and leading us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God. When we meet him fully, we will pass from the light of the Word to the light streaming from the “Bread of life”, the supreme fulfillment of his promise to “be with us always, to the end of the age” (cf. Mt 28:20) (Pope St. John Paul II).

What seems to you to be evil in you is purified by the mere fact of having noticed it…At the moment when you see with terror that, in spite of your efforts, not only have you not drawn closer to your goal, but you have even drawn further away from it, at that moment, I warn you beforehand, you will reach your goal, and you will see above you the mysterious power of the Lord, who, unbeknownst to you, has guided you with love (René Girard).

Death is nothing but a vacant form for God, something whose reality has been utterly emptied out, which can only be detected in the form of its traces in the human life story of someone who has overcome death. The marks, then, of Jesus’ death were something like trophies: it was his whole human life, including his death, which was made alive and presented before the disciples as a sign that he had in fact conquered death. This not only meant that he had personally conquered death, which he had manifestly done, but that, in addition, the whole mechanism by which death retains people in its thrall had been shown to be unnecessary. Whatever death is, it is not something which has to structure every human life from within (as in fact it does), but rather it is an empty shell, a bark without a bite. None of us has any reason to fear being dead, something which will unquestionably happen to all of us, since that state cannot separate us effectively from the real source of life (James Alison).


     Do you believe in ghosts?   Looks like the disciples did.  When Jesus stood in their midst… they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost (G). A lot of Americans believe in ghosts too.  According to one survey, 36 percent of Americans said that they believe in ghosts with women more likely than men to do so, while a third of Americans claim they have had a personal experience of feeling the presence of a spirit or ghost (cf. Statistica; February 2, 204;  RealClear Opinion Research; January 8, 2024; YouGov; October 19, 2019). 
     Of course, a lot depends on what you mean by "ghost."  For example, how many people might answer the question, "Do you believe in ghosts?" with the Apostles' Creed in mind which confesses belief in the "communion of saints."  Granted, that does not refer only to the deceased — we the living are included — but it also refers to those who've gone before us marked with the sign of faith. 
     For those who doubt a so-called "intermediate state" between death and resurrection — one might take a look at the process by which someone is declared a saint.  Before anyone is added to the official canon of saints, a rigorous investigation is conducted of those who claim a sudden, unexplained and lasting medical cure due to the intercession of the person in question.  With the exception of martyrs, two such miracles are normally required.
     Pope Francis recently canonized a fellow Argentine, an Eighteenth Century laywoman, affectionately known as "Mama Antula," who went about the country with Jesuit priests giving the Spiritual Exercises. After their expulsion from the country, she continued to do so on her own — something of a miracle in itself.  The second required miracle involved a friend of the pope, a former Jesuit seminarian, Claudio Perusini, the victim of a severe stroke who was on the verge of death.  A friend brought a picture of Mama Antula to the hospital and stuck it on the vital signs monitor. The man improved and left intensive care. (Associated Press, February 10, 2024).  
     Of course, one could argue such things are merely a divine "stamp of approval" on a person's life —  a signal there is something exemplary about their lives and their impact on the church and world without such people being personally involved.  But then, there are those who report very personal signs of a continued existence after death.  I recall the day of my mother's funeral, after I had preached the homily around her favorite song — Sentimental Journey.  I got home, went to bed, turned the TV on, and what was the first thing that appeared on my YouTube feed?  The movie Sentimental Journey — about which I knew nothing.  I only knew the song made famous by Doris Day.  Then there was her last tax return I had to file.  Due to a mix-up, a refund was sent to her address rather than mine after her house had been sold.  There followed several trips down IRS rabbit holes before it got cleared up.  And when did the check finally arrive?  Exactly three years later on the anniversary of her death.  Coincidence?  Perhaps, but I'm sticking with the "communion of saints."
     Add to all this, the growing evidence that consciousness survives the death of the body — the "soul," if you will — with scientific research giving serious attention to near death experiences.  The New York Times Magazine recently published an article, "What Deathbed Visions Teach Us About Living"; Phoebe Zerwick, March 1 2, 2024; .  While The Guardian had a lengthy article entitled "The new science of death: 'There's something happening in the brain that makes no sense" (Alex Blasdel; April 2, 2024;  
     Such things help us resist the headwinds of skepticism inherited from the Enlightenment decried by the great scholar of religion, Huston Smith, who taught in the Religion Department at Syracuse University — hardly a bastion of credulity.  Smith once said:
our cognitive deference to science saddles us with an inferior world. The world which used to be an "enchanted garden," to invoke Weber's memorable phrase, has had the enchantment drained from it, with alienating results…..God has difficulty entering lost lives -- or to change the metaphor, lives that have gotten themselves into the box of the modern Western mindset. But there is no logical reason to stay in that box; only psychological ones which, though they are powerful, can be dispelled….the Jewish and Christian mystics…showed me that their worlds are as accessible today as they ever were. Reality hasn't changed -- it is we who have closed important doors to it. To reopen those doors we need to stop railing indiscriminately against metaphysics, objectivity and hierarchy, reserving our fire for instances where these have miscarried. With these conceptual tools restored to us, we can open ourselves to the world in which the invisible and immaterial -- Spirit if you will -- is not only as real, but more real, than matter; in which the positive attributes of being -- power, wisdom, beauty, love, duration -- increase in concert as they ascend being's golden chain to culminate in an absolute perfection which many call God. ("This Religious Moment"; August 11, 1984)
     But what does this have to do with Easter?  In a way, everything, and in another way, nothing.  Positively, such things remind us that the word “dead” isn’t really in the Christian vocabulary.  Once the disciples were convinced the Lord was indeed risen from the dead, that  his Death is our ransom from death, and in his rising the life of all has risen (Easter Preface II), well, to speak of the “dead” made less and less sense.


     On the other hand, those who have “died” in the Lord should not to be thought of as ghosts, despite popular beliefs and language.  For those who are with the Lord must yet attain in their flesh the incorruptible glory of the resurrection (Prayer after Communion) since a ghost does not have flesh and bones (G) – and we are not destined ultimately to be disembodied spirits.  That doesn’t mean, however, that the time “in-between” bodily death and resurrection is idle or lifeless. And whatever you make of these stories of ongoing concourse between the living and the “dead,” they give us modern people, often embarrassed by reports of the “supernatural,” pause to reconsider the claims of Christian faith.  Since if nothing else, in the words of Bishop Robert Barron, “the miraculous shakes us out of a too-easy rationalism" (National Public Radio; August 31, 2016).
     And as we await our own resurrection, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one (II). And his intercession as our High Priest, to which the saints join their own, at times brings about bodily healing as a sign Easter holds forth the promise of a salvation that includes the whole person, body and soul.  So much so that he gives us his own risen Body now,  ensuring our communion with him and all those joined to that Body, living and “dead.”  Indeed, we too are witnesses of these things (G) concerning the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead: Jesus Christ, the Holy and Righteous One, who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen (cf. I).

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that the Spirit will open our minds to understand the Scriptures and empower us to share the message of God’s love and forgiveness with all whom we encounter.

For all who are broken and wounded: that they may find healing in Christ and that God will help us recognize them as our brothers and sisters through the wounded Christ.

For all who feel bound by their past: that God will heal and free them so that they may live life fully.

For the members of Congress: that God will guide their deliberations and help them find ways to act upon the critical issues confronting our nation.

For healing of the wounds of racism and prejudice: that God will help us to recognize the dignity of each person and work to heal the wounds and divisions that exist.

For refugees and immigrants: that God will lead them to safety and help them find communities for support and opportunities to use their talents for the good of others.

For a spirit of stewardship: that we may make wise use of the resources of the earth and protect the soil, air, and water for future generations.

For protection from violence and mass shootings: that God will protect the human family from destructive violence and the shooting of innocent persons.

For an end to the development and proliferation of weapons that can destroy humanity: that God will free nations from fear and inspire them to promote education and development opportunities for their people.

God of all the prophets, you fulfilled your promise of old that your Christ would suffer and so rise to glory.  Open our minds to understand the Scriptures and fill us with joyful wonder in the presence of the risen Christ, that we may be his witnesses to the farthest reaches of the earth. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Hymn


Two were bound for Emmaus, disheartened and lost, All their hope for the future had been nailed to a cross, Love unknown then walked beside them, come back from the dead, And they knew he was risen in the breaking of bread.


On the Sea of Tiberius, when the night was nearly gone, And their toil seemed so useless, not one fish had they caught, From the shore, the stranger called to them "Cast your net, friends, once more," And they filled it to bursting, but the net was not torn.


Then they knew it was Jesus and they hastened in to shore, Bread and fish for their breakfast from the hands of their Lord, "O Peter, if you love me you must care for my sheep, If you follow your Shepherd, then a shepherd you'll be."


When the road makes us weary, when our labor seems but loss, When the fire of faith weakens and too high seems the cost, Let the Church turn to its risen Lord who for us bore the cross, And we'll find our hearts burning at the sound of his voice.


Two were bound for Emmaus, disheartened and lost, All their hope for the future had been nailed to a cross, Love unknown then walked beside them, come back from the dead, And they knew he was risen in the breaking of bread.

Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn (Michael Philip Ward)

In the walking on the road, we saw Him.
In the telling of our hopes, we saw Him.
In the burning of our hearts, we saw the Lord.
At the meal He took the bread and then He blessed it, broke it, offered it.
In the breaking of the bread, we saw Him!
Suddenly our eyes were opened, and we knew He was alive!

We set out to find His friends to tell them.
We went to Jerusalem to tell them;
and with joy we told them, “We have seen the Lord!”
And as we were speaking there, He stood among us, blessed us, said to us,
“Now my peace I leave with you.” We saw Him!
Suddenly our eyes were opened, and we knew He was alive!

But then we became afraid without Him.
In the darkened room we stayed without Him,
waiting for the One He said that He would send.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came down upon us,
filling us, changing us, giving us the strength to say:
We saw Him! Suddenly our eyes were opened, and we knew He was alive!

We ran out into the street to tell them,
everyone that we could meet, to tell them,
“God has raised Him up and we have seen the Lord!”
We took bread as He had done and then we blessed it, broke it, offered it.
In the breaking of the bread, we saw Him!
Suddenly our eyes were opened.

There within our midst was Jesus, and we knew He was alive.
In the breaking of the bread, He is here with us again,
and we know He is alive.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!