Third Sunday of Easter (A)
April 23, 2023
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,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

 O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his
disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith,
that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives

and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.(BCP)

O God, whose presence is veiled from our eyes:
Grant that when we do not recognize you,
our hearts may burn within us,
and when feeling is lost,
we may cling in faith to your Word
and the power of bread broken
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.(BCW)

First Reading Acts 2:14, 22-33

 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
   raised his voice, and proclaimed:
   “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God
   with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
   which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
   you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
   because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:

      I saw the Lord ever before me,
         with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
      Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
         my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
      because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
         nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
      You have made known to me the paths of life;
         you will fill me with joy in your presence.

“My brothers, one can confidently say to you
   about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
   and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
   that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
   he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
   that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
   nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
   of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
   he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
   and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”

Responsorial Psalm


Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, "My LORD are you."
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

Second Reading 1 Peter 1:17-21

If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially
   according to each one’s works,
   conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,
   realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
   handed on by your ancestors,
   not with perishable things like silver or gold
   but with the precious blood of Christ
   as of a spotless unblemished lamb.

He was known before the foundation of the world
   but revealed in the final time for you,
   who through him believe in God
   who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
   so that your faith and hope are in God.

Verse before the Gospel

Gospel Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
   two of Jesus’ disciples were going
   to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
   and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
   Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
   but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
   “What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
   “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
   who does not know of the things
   that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
   “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
   who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
   before God and all the people,
   how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
   to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
   and besides all this,
   it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
   they were at the tomb early in the morning
   and did not find his body;
   they came back and reported
   that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
   who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
   and found things just as the women had described,
   but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
   and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
   he interpreted to them what referred to him
   in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
   he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
   for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
   he took bread, said the blessing,
   broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
   but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
   “Were not our hearts burning within us
   while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
   where they found gathered together
   the eleven and those with them who were saying,
   “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
   what had taken place on the way
   and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread. 

Catena Nova

The fire of the Lord is Light Eternal;
the lamps of believers are lit at this fire:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps,”  (Lk 12:35).
It is because the days of our life
are still night that a lamp is necessary.
This is the fire which,
according to the testimony
of the disciples at Emmaus,
the Lord Himself set within them:
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while He spoke to us on the way
and opened the scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32).
He gives us evident proof of this fire’s action,
enlightening man’s inmost heart.
That is why the Lord will come in fire (Is 66,15)
so as to devour our faults at the resurrection,
fulfil each one’s desires with His Presence
and cast His Light over their merits and mysteries. (St. Ambrose of Milan)

Do not forget, my friends, that it was in the breaking of the bread that the Lord Jesus wished to be recognized by those who till then had been kept from seeing who he was. Believers will know what I mean. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread, not any kind of bread, but the bread which has been blessed by Christ and has now become his body. (St. Augustine of Hippo)
When bread is broken, it is in a way diminished, or “emptied.”  By breaking understand the virtue of humility, by which Christ—even he who is the bread of life— broke, diminished, and emptied himself. And by emptying himself he gave us knowledge of himself.  The hidden Wisdom of the Father, and a treasure whole and concealed—what use are they? Break your bread for the hungry, Lord, the bread that is yourself, so that human eyes may be opened, and it may not be regarded as a sin for us to long to be like you, knowing good and evil.  Let him know you through the breaking of bread, who from the beginning wished to strive after or grope for you in your undiminished state. (A 12th Century Author)
At the Day of Judgment we shall see the Flesh of Our Lord shine through the glorified body of those who have received Him worthily on earth, as we see gold shine in copper, or silver in lead. When we have just communicated, if we were asked, “What are you carrying away to your home?” we might answer, “I am carrying away Heaven. ” A saint said that we were Christ-bearers. It is very true; but we have not enough faith. We do not comprehend our dignity. When we leave the holy banquet, we are as happy as the Wise Men would have been, if they could have carried away the Infant Jesus. Take a vessel full of liquor, and cork it well – you will keep the liquor as long as you please. So if you were to keep Our Lord well and recollectedly, after Communion, you would long feel that devouring fire which would inspire your heart with an inclination to good and a repugnance to evil. When we have the good God in our heart, it ought to be very burning. The heart of the disciples of Emmaus burnt within them from merely listening to His voice. (St. John Vianney)
Let us observe, too, when it was that their eyes were opened… when He consecrated and broke the Bread.   There is evidently a stress laid on this in the gospel…  for so it was ordained, that Christ should not be both seen and known at once, first He was seen, then He was known.   Only by faith is He known to be present…  He removed His visible presence and left but a memorial of Himself.   He vanished from sight that He might be present in a Sacrament and in order to connect His visible presence with His presence invisible, He for one instant, manifest Himself to their open eyes;  manifested Himself, if I may so speak, while He passed from His hiding-place of sight without knowledge, to that of knowledge without sight. (St John Henry Newman)
Bread is food. It is wholesome, nourishing food for which we never lose our appetite. Under the form of bread God becomes for us even the food of life. “We break a bread,” writes Saint Ignatius of Antioch to the faithful at Ephesus, "we break a bread that is the food of immortality." By this food our being is so nourished with God himself that we exist in him and he in us. (Romano Guardini)
I’d like to draw attention to one element of this story, a story which offers not so much a key to reading scripture as an ongoing hermeneutical principle which we do not control, and which is alive independently of us and transforms us. This element is indispensable for those of us who are trying to imagine the catholic faith in the third millennium. It is the fact, little commented, that what is odd about the Emmaus story is that it is a dead man who is talking. I think it very important that we don’t make the separation which we are accustomed to when talking about the risen Jesus, imagining that he is alive, and for that reason, not dead. No, what is fascinating about the doctrine of the resurrection is that it is the whole human life of Jesus, including his death, which is risen. The life of God, since it is totally outside the order of human life and human death, doesn’t cancel death, as if it were a sickness which is to be cured, but takes it up, assumes it. Luke offers us a vision of a risen Jesus who has not ceased to be a dead man, and who, starting from his living-out-being-a-crucified-man, teaches and empowers his disciples by his presence. (James Alison)



Seeking Recognition
               Should they have known better?  After all, what makes a Messiah a Messiah?  It’s not like someone goes to school and gets a diploma to prove he or she is the real thing.  Even the credentials mentioned by Peter are easy to fake -- mighty deeds, wonders, and signs (I). People are so gullible when it comes to religion.  Before you know it, some self-appointed Messiah gets a following, a set of beliefs, starts a church.  And the Messiah business is flourishing.
     So you have to wonder, “How do you recognize the real Messiah?”  The one Peter goes on to say was known be­fore the foundation of the world (II)?  After all, the list of pretenders is pretty long. Remember Jim Jones who led his followers to suicide in the jungles of Guyana?  Or David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidians, burned beyond recognition in the ruins of their Waco, Texas compound?  And don’t forget M.H. Applewhite who led the Heaven’s Gate cult to mass suicide in San Diego. Less obvious are the siren songs we hear all the time from the media, from advertisers, from a culture mad for profit and pleasure — and of course from political hucksters and their unscrupulous enablers. These voices can kill the soul, if not the body.  With so many Messiahs, what’s a person to do?
No wonder those two disciples on the road to Emmaus looked downcast as they were conversing and debating. They thought they found the real thing too. They hoped he would be the one to redeem Israel But now he was dead – worse, crucified.  By the chief priests and rulers no less (G)!  The scandal was more than they could bear. They were confused beyond belief. Maybe they should look somewhere else to find the Kingdom of God.
Trouble is, the list of phony Utopias is just as long as the list of fake Messiahs. The last century saw them popping up all over the place. The Bolsheviks were sure their Utopia would be a “workers’ paradise” in Russia.  Forget the millions who would be starved, slaughtered and exiled to Siberia in the process by Stalin.  Hitler’s Utopia would be the Third Reich to last a thousand years. Forget the millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and political dissidents who would die in the concentration camps so a pure race could live in his Utopia.  Pol Pot wanted to turn Cambodia into a self-sufficient agrarian Utopia.  More than a million skulls piled throughout his killing fields were a small price to pay.  And don’t forget Slobadan Milosevic and his project of “ethnic cleans­ing” so Bosnia could be a Utopia free of undesirable Muslims.  But they all had as many, if not more, followers than victims.  Nor should we be blind to these tendencies in our own country as nativism masked as populism, xenophobia disguised as patriotism, and hate crimes inspired by dog whistles passing for political speech make their ugly appearance in the United States. 
                It seems like the eyes of most, as for those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, are prevented from recognizing the real thing, even should it draw near and walk with you.  So what shall we make of this Stranger quoting the Bible, telling us it was necessary that the Christ should suffer… and enter into his glory (cf. G)?  Is it possible, here at last, that something different has come along?
Well, it seems that way.  For one thing, he isn’t very pushy. You hardly notice him as he approaches. No fanfare, no handlers, no throngs of people yelling mindless slogans.  Instead, he walks beside us – and not ahead of us.  And even after he opened the Scriptures to us, he was ready to go on farther, until we urged him, “Stay with us” (G).  And then he performed the gesture that made us recognize him -- breaking bread with his friends.  Simply, humbly, patiently.  Like he always did.  Not wanting to make a spectacle of himself: preferring the poor to the rich, the weak to the strong, the sinner to the righteous, the least to the greatest, the lost to the found, the colt to the steed, the cross to a throne.  Yes, there is something very different about this Messiah. And more than anything else, this Messiah doesn’t demand others suffer and die so he can usher in his Kingdom, but has suffered and died himself: Someone, in other words, willing to shed his own precious blood rather than others’ (cf. II).
                So that must be how you can tell the true ones from the false ones. The fakes are always the loudest, putting themselves first, abusing their power, leaving a train of victims in their wake. The fakes would never want to be recognized in a piece of bread, broken bread. And they’d never spill their own blood for you. And the true Messiah would never put policies before persons or the interests of an institution ahead of everything else, lest our faith and hope be anywhere but in God alone (cf. II). So we’d all better learn to recognize this Messiah and his Kingdom – beginning with our own chief priests and rulers -- and forget about other forms of Utopia, or we’ll fall with all the rest.
For the true Messiah had to be delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God (I): A plan no human being would ever devise. A plan that puts an end to human pretension once and for all -- the plan revealed to us in these last days by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who lives and reigns, world without end.  Amen.


For the church: that the freedom brought by the resurrection may enable us to live with purpose and help others to forsake the fruitless pursuits of power, fame, and wealth.

For wisdom: that as we bring our lives, experiences, and relationships to the Eucharist each week, the Scriptures may help us recognize that Christ is with us in every aspect of life.

For all in our community: that the Spirit will guide our daily journeys and enable us to ease fear, bring hope, and offer encouragement to those who touch our lives.

For a deeper appreciation of the gift of the Eucharist: that we may be strengthened each week as we celebrate God's love in the liturgy and come to recognize Jesus more readily in our lives.

For all government leaders: that God will guide them in developing safe and prudent methods for the reopening of society as the pandemic wanes.

For all who are in isolation: that they may find companionship with God through the scriptures, recall with gratitude all who are significant in their life, and encourage others who are alone.

For peace: that God will end all violent conflicts, open new avenues for negotiations and bring forth structures that promote safety and justice for all.

O God of mystery,
out of death you delivered Christ Jesus,
and he walked in hidden glory with his disciples.
Stir up our faith,
that our hearts may burn within us
at the sound of his word
and our eyes be opened to recognise him
in the breaking of the bread.
Grant this through Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead,
who lives and reigns with you now and always
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.  Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon

 Offertory Chorale

i thank You God for most this amazing
 day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
 and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
 which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
 and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
 great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
 breathing any- lifted from the no
of all nothing- human merely being
 doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
 now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn


Christ, being raised from the dead, Now dieth no more; Death hath no more dominion over Him For in that He died, He died unto sin but once; But in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.

Likewise reckon ye yourselves also To be dead indeed unto sin, But alive unto God, Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ is risen from the dead, And become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by [a] man came death By [a] man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, So in Christ shall all be made alive.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son And to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, And ever shall be, a world without end. Amen.