Pastor’s Corner for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year A by Rev William Davies

I was recently counselling a man who had experienced a personal tragedy. In our session, leading out of the details of his sad incident, he told me that he had stopped attending church and had given up on religion and, as he said, belief in God. “How can a loving God allow these terrible things to happen” was a statement he made throughout our conversation. He cited his personal and family experience, wars, child abuse, poverty, and natural disasters such as the earthquake in Turkey. He was totally disillusioned and dejected.

We find the disciples on the road to Emmaus in today’s Gospel in a similar frame of mind. Many of us have been in a similar emotional space and found ourselves sad and disillusioned. The disciples on the Emmaus walk had expectations of what Jesus would accomplish and, in the end, had a misconception of who Jesus was. At the heart of this for the disciples and ourselves is our image of God and our expectations of Him. Are these images and expectations real? Many of us have an image of God that is not real, and because of this, our faith gets shaken. The client I was counselling and the disciples on the way to Emmaus were guilty of the same; they had a mistaken idea of what the scriptures tell us about Jesus. As they spoke to Him, they presented Him with their interpretation and preconceived belief of what His role should have been – a different kind of salvation.

So how do we in 2023 gain a deeper understanding of Jesus? How do we have an encounter with the real Jesus as these disciples had? How do we experience Jesus and have our hearts set on fire?

The response to today’s Responsorial Psalm is “Lord, you show me the path of life”, and the Emmaus is indeed the path of and to life. The Gospel account of the Emmaus walk is a model, a forerunner to our Holy Mass. Each Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, lays out the Word of God for us, just as Jesus did with His misinformed disciples. At each Mass, just as Jesus did with the disciples who invited Him into their hearts to stay, the bread is blessed, broken, and given to us. Since these disciples had their personal encounter with the Lord, Christians have met Jesus in faith in the Eucharistic Celebration each time we listen to His Word, share His Body and Blood and gather around His table with our brother and sister disciples.

Surely, that must set our own hearts on fire.


Rev William (Billy) Davies