Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our companionship with Christ

Readings: Acts 3:13-15.17-19; Ps 4:2.4.7-9; 1 John 2:1-5a; Luke 24:35-48

Our readings for this Third Sunday of Easter don't require a lot unpacking or commentary. In our first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, St Peter tried to open the minds of his hearers to understand the Scriptures, just as the Lord had opened his, by explaining how Jesus fulfilled "everything written about [Him] in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms" (Luke 24:44).

Our reading from St John's first letter explains how we can know Jesus in the here and now. It makes all the difference in the world to how you live if you believe Jesus is risen and alive, or merely conceive of Him as a charismatic figure of the distant past who taught us some "good" things.

Like Cleopas and his unnamed friend, who encountered Jesus on the road, we come to know the Lord by walking with Him, not only as disciples, but as companions. The word "companion" is an interesting one. In Latin "com" means "with" and "pan" means "bread." So, literally, a com-pan-ion is one with whom you share bread.

Christ at Emmaus, by Rembrandt, 1648

Companionship with Jesus is different from any other because He becomes for you, for us, the very bread that is shared. This, in turn, fosters a companionship of those who share the Bread that is Him, making us together His Body, His Bride, flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. As Pope St John Paul II noted in his last encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, "the Eucharist builds the Church and the Church makes the Eucharist" (par 26). The fifth and final of the Luminous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, given us by Papa Wojtyła in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, is Christ's institution of the Eucharist.

It is on this basis, and this basis alone (i.e., "how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread" Luke 24:35), that, if we follow the chapter from which our Gospel reading is taken to the end, which is only one more verse, once they were "clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49), which happened at the first Christian Pentecost, that Jesus' disciples, His companions, were were sent forth to tell of "these things" they witnessed, namely- that the Messiah suffered and rose "from the dead on the third day" (Luke 24:46).

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