The Gospel passage for this evening is from the book of Mark 16:1-7:

As the sabbath came to an end, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome purchased spices to anoint him. At dawn on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb, wondering how the stone would be moved away. To their astonishment, they found the stone rolled back; it was enormous.

Upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, which left them amazed. He said to them, “Do not be surprised! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter: ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

The narrative continues in this morning’s Mass readings from John 20:1-9:

On the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and informed them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him.”

Peter and the other disciple set out for the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not go in. When Peter arrived, he entered the tomb and observed the linen cloths and the cloth that had been over Jesus’ head, neatly folded in a separate place. The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, saw and believed. They did not yet understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

This evening, we will hear the account of Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35:

On that same day, the first day of the week, two disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were discussing everything that had happened. While they were deep in conversation and debate, Jesus himself approached and walked with them, but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, replied, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know what has occurred there in these days?” He inquired, “What things?” They explained, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, a powerful prophet in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one who would redeem Israel. Moreover, it is the third day since these things happened. Some women in our group astounded us; they went to the tomb early this morning but couldn’t find his body. They came back and reported seeing angels who said he was alive. Some of our companions went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had described, but they did not see Jesus.” He said to them, “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning himself. As they neared the village they were heading to, he acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, as it is almost evening and the day is nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. While he was at table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight.

They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned immediately to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven and others gathered, exclaiming, “The Lord has truly risen and has appeared to Simon!” The two then recounted what had happened to them on the road and how Jesus had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Once again, a joyful and enriched Easter to all our esteemed readers at Hot Air!

We have journeyed through the past six weeks of Lent, and now we reach its culmination. However, our voyage is far from complete; the Lord invites us to journey with Him wherever we go. The tomb stands empty, the veil in the Temple has been torn forever, signifying that there is no longer any separation for us. Jesus doesn’t desire us to remain stationary but to continue progressing on the path of salvation.

The account of Emmaus always captivated me. Jesus sought out His disciples to comfort them, yet Luke’s Gospel reveals how Jesus chose to reveal Himself right at the beginning of His resurrection – by walking alongside those who loved Him. Rather than surprising them suddenly, He chose to walk with His friends, allowing them to express their grief and worries. He then uplifted their spirits by elucidating the significance of the prophets and the scriptures, guiding them to the truth before revealing Himself through the breaking of bread.

This mirrors the essence of the Mass. We commence with prayers, progress through the scripture readings and the Gospel. The priest, acting under Christ’s authority, expounds on the importance and relevance of the readings to uplift our spirits and encourage us on our life’s journey. When the priest breaks the bread during the consecration, Christ enters among us, filling us with the Holy Spirit through the Eucharist. Nourished in this manner, we are dispatched to continue our voyage and proclaim the Good News to the world, just as the two men did after encountering Christ on the road to Emmaus.

We are aware that Jesus journeys with us through the Holy Spirit, for the tomb stands empty and the veil is torn eternally. He is our Lord and companion, accompanying us in our anguish and suffering, and uplifting us to choose His salvation. May we all open our hearts as the two men on the road did and seek Jesus even in the depths of our sorrow.

The image on the front page is “The Women at Christ’s Empty Tomb,” circa 1640, attributed to the workshop of Peter Paul Rubens. It is a part of a private collection. Via Wikimedia Commons

“Sunday Reflection” is a recurring feature that delves into the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes globally. This reflection reflects solely my personal perspective, aimed at preparing myself for the Lord’s day and potentially sparking meaningful discussions. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be accessed here.