- Published: Monday, 24 April 2017 11:38
LITURGY NOTES FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
Third Sunday of Easter Year A
April 29, 2017
Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand
We pay our respects to them for their care of the land
May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land.
I acknowledge the living culture of the ……..people,
the traditional custodians of the land we stand on,
and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are now gathered,
(the ……) and recognise that it continues to be sacred to them.
We hail them: as guardians of the earth and of all things that grow and breed in the soil; as trustees of the waters – [the seas, the streams and rivers, the ponds and the lakes] - and the rich variety of life in those waters.
We thank them for passing this heritage to every people since the Dreamtime.
We acknowledge the wrongs done to them by newcomers to this land and we seek to be partners with them in righting these wrongs and in living together in peace and harmony.
Help our hearts to be Spirit-filled, O Christ.
Help us to burn with passion for you and
for your people throughout the world.
May our passion ignite flames of justice and hope
in the midst of hopelessness and pain.
May the warmth of our fire be a sign
of your compassionate presence in the world.
In the name of the Risen Christ, Amen
Someone had to cook the supper
Supper at Emmaus by Valazquez
The Servant-Girl at Emmaus
She listens, listens, holding her breath. Surely that voice is his—the one who had looked at her, once, across the crowd, as no one ever had looked? Had seen her? Had spoken as if to her?
Surely those hands were his, taking the platter of bread from hers just now? Hands he’d laid on the dying and made them well?
Surely that face—?
The man they’d crucified for sedition and blasphemy. The man whose body disappeared from its tomb. The man it was rumored now some women had seen this morning, alive?
Those who had brought this stranger home to their table don’t recognize yet with whom they sit. But she in the kitchen, absently touching the wine jug she’s to take in, a young Black servant intently listening, swings round and sees the light around him and is sure.
Reading I Acts 2:14, 22-33
Responsorial Psalm Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Reading II 1 Pt 1:17-21
Gospel Lk 24:13-35
· Jesus, you accompany us on our journey. Jesus, have mercy.
· Jesus, you speak to the joys in our hearts and the pains of our life. Christ, have mercy.
· Jesus, you break for us the life-giving bread. Jesus, have mercy.
God who journeys with us,
Jesus is our companion who journeys with us.
May Jesus keep breaking for us
the bread that gives us courage
and open our eyes to recognize him
in our downhearted and suffering brothers and sisters..
Let us pray to the God who journeys with us in Jesus and burns in our hearts. We pray in response: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with us as a people along the way of peace and compassion that leads us towards others – especially the most marginalised, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with all people who feel under threat of military forces (North Korea, Iran, Syria and Yemen) as they face them with fear and trepidation and may those who threaten these people also see that they are brothers and sisters created in the image of God, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with all who are workers so that they may receive just and fair conditions in their employment, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with all who strive to work for peace through nonviolence that in times of disappointment or frustration they may see their efforts as contributing to a new and better world for all, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with the Churches that claim Jesus as their head and heart so that they may recognise the pain of disunity and work to be united under the one Shepherd, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with our country that our leaders, inspired by the Spirit, may be people of integrity, truth and compassion for all they are called to serve and be bold in the decisions they make for the common good and not be influenced by political ties, favouritism or fear, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with all who suffer from any kind of pain or imposed burden and that those who attempt to journey with them to lift them from their miseries be strengthened in knowing that they are in the company of a ‘cloud of witnesses’, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with our diverse cultural communities that all may accept differences as gifts and love one another so that it becomes evident that you live among us, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with those strive for peace in our world, may enemies recognise the face of God in each other, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with those who work with people living in poverty and disadvantage, may they open their ears and hearts to hear their stories and what they can see from their position, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with all those who suffer in any way, may they find God’s comforting touch and presence through those who care and minister to them, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with those who have to suffer the trauma of change in their lives due to separation, divorced, unemployment, so that may they continue to trust in God’s presence and love for them, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with your Church as it grows in awareness and recognition that Christ is present in all places and all peoples, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with all those who are struggle with belief and have left the Christian community, may they discover again that God is present in new and surprising places, especially in places that carry the wounds of life so that they too may be renewed in faith and hope, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
· Journey with all our leaders in church and government that they will work for the common good and protect all who are powerless and voiceless in our society, we pray: Jesus, walk with us.
Concluding Prayer: Good and loving God, you do not abandon us, but fulfill your promise to be always with us. Hear us as we pray in the name of Jesus, your Son and our risen Lord, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
God who journeys with us,
in the bread and wine
we have signs of Jesus’ presence with us.
May our hearts be set on fire
as Jesus shares himself and speaks to us.
Prayer after Communion
God who journeys with us,
Jesus has spoken to us
words of encouragement and hope.
We have been nourished by the food and drink
that sustains us on our pilgrim journey.
Keep is one in faith,
one in love and one in common concern
for all that is right, good and just.
May 1 St Joseph the Worker
International Workers Day
May 3 World Press Freedom Day
May 4 Yom ha-Shoah Holocaust Memorial Day
May 5 Blessed Edmund Rice
May 6 Mandatory detention of asylum seekers in Australia in 1992 during Keating government
May 8 War ends in Europe in 1945
An African Prayer for Refugees
O Brother Jesus, who as a child was carried into exile, remember all those who are deprived of their home or country, who groan under the burden of anguish and sorrow, enduring the burning heat of the sun, the freezing cold of the sea, or the humid heat of the forest, searching for a place of refuge. Cause these storms to cease, O Christ. Move the hearts of those in power that they may respect the men and women whom you have created in your image; that the grief of refugees may be turned to joy, as when you led Moses and your people out of captivity.
‘God is at home; it is we who have gone for a walk.’
Meister Eckhart, 14th century mystic
‘Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.’
Henry David Thoreau
‘There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.’
How Shall We Find You?
How shall we find You,
God who is Holy,
captured by gender,
colour and code?
how shall we worship,
God of the Presence,
action and essence, meaning and mode?
How shall we know You,
God who is Wisdom,
argued by scholars, proofed on a page:
how to imagine,
God of creation,
worlds beyond thinking,
here on our stage?
How shall we trust You
God in the scriptures,
filtered through lenses
biased and blurred:
how to revere You
God of tradition,
cased in our churches,
Word bound to word?
How shall we see You
if not in people
knit to your Nature,
focused in sight -
angels and artists,
teachers and healers,
children of light:
How shall we love You
if not as human,
loving us wholly,
fleshed in our frame,
known in our hunger
known in our meeting
spirit to Spirit,
naming our name.
Be thankful and repay
Growth with good work and care.
Work done in gratitude,
Kindly, and well, is prayer.
You did not make yourself,
Yet you must keep yourself
By use of other lives. / No gratitude atones
For bad use or too much.
Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, 1979-1997
Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a / bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second generation / full of courage issue forth; let a people / loving freedom come to growth. Let a beauty full of / healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing / in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs be / written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of [humans] now / rise and take control.
Margaret Walker, from ‘For My People’
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
T.S. Eliot, from ‘East Coker’
Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.’
Susan B. Anthony
Words don't move mountains. Work, exacting work, moves mountains
Danilo Dolci, Sicilian poet and social activist
Quote from Archbishop Oscar Romero
Let us not be disheartened,
even when the horizon of history
grows dim and closes in,
as though human realities made impossible
the accomplishment of God’s plans.
God makes use even of human errors,
even of human sins,
so as to make rise over the darkness
what Isaiah spoke of.
One day prophets will sing
not only the return from Babylon
but our full liberation.
‘The people that walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
They walk in lands of shadows,
but a light has shone forth.’ (Is. 9:1–2)
December 25, 1977
Before the terrifying prospects now available to humanity, we see even more clearly that peace is the only goal worth struggling for. This is no longer a prayer but a demand to be made by all peoples to their governments - a demand to choose definitively between hell and reason.
Albert Camus, On the bombing of Hiroshima - in the resistance newspaper 'Combat' - 8 August 1945
There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.
You can bomb the world into pieces, but you can't bomb it into peace.
If we pay close attention to the animals in our lives, we can hear God speaking to us -- speaking words of love, charity, hope and grace. Saint Isaac the Syrian, Early eastern monk and hermit, knew this when he wrote:
‘What is a charitable heart? It is a heart burning with charity for the whole of creation, for humans, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons --- for all creatures. He who has such a heart cannot see or call to mind a creature without his eyes becoming filled with tears by reason of the immense compassion that seizes his heart, a heart that is softened and can no longer bear to see or learn from others of any suffering, even the smallest pain, being inflicted upon a creature. That is why such a man never ceases to pray for the animals, for the enemies of Truth, and for those who do him evil, that they may be preserved and purified. He will pray even for the reptiles, moved by the infinite pity that reigns in the hearts of those who are becoming united to God.’
For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the good news into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new.... The purpose of evangelization is (an) interior change, and if it has to be expressed in one sentence the best way to stating it would be to say that the Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieux which are theirs.
Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975) 18
In the Sunday Eucharist, the believing heart opens wide to embrace all aspects of the church. But . . . far from trying to create a narrow 'gift' mentality, St. Paul calls rather for a demanding culture of sharing, to be lived not only among the members of the community itself but in society as a whole.
Pope John Paul II
… the superfluous wealth of rich countries should be placed at the service of poor nations. The rule which up to now held good for the benefit of those nearest to us, must today be applied to all the needy of this world. Besides, the rich will be the first to benefit as a result. Otherwise their continued greed will certainly call down upon them the judgement of God and the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foretell.
Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, #49
… whoever has received from the bounty of God a greater share of goods, whether corporeal and external, or of the soul, has received them for this purpose, namely, that he employ them for his own perfection and, likewise, as a servant of Divine Providence, for the benefit of others. 'Therefore, he that hath talent, let him constantly see to it that he be not silent; he that hath an abundance of goods, let him be on the watch that he grow not slothful in the generosity of mercy; he that hath a trade whereby he supports himself, let him be especially eager to share with his neighbour the use and benefit thereof.'
Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, #16
Love’s dawn journey into Day.
Take and eat.
This is my body:
Light turned green in tongues of grass,
turned flesh in grazing herds,
turned love in human hearts.
Take and drink.
This is my blood:
Rising in springs, flowing in rivers,
swelling the seas, salting your tears,
your veins full of me.
Take and eat this sun and soil.
Take and drink this wind and rain.
Remember me –
Light’s long journey out of Night,
Light’s long journey into Life.
Remember me –
Love’s dawn journey into Day.
[Communion Poem by Diane Pendola. September 2004 in Tui Motu InterIslands November 2004]
We thank You for Your abundance;
help up to share.
We thank You for the water that give us all life;
help us to share
We thank You for the land that allows us to plant;
help us to share.
We thank You for the air that we all breath;
help us to share.
We thank You for the knowledge that enables us to produce;
help us to share.
We thank You for the seeds, which we plant;
help us to share.
We thank You for the harvest that we have been given;
help us to share.
We thank You for the transportation with which we distribute our food;
help us to share.
O God, we thank You for Your abundance.
Center of Concern
However tiring, the road to Emmaus leads from a sense of discouragement and bewilderment to the fullness of Easter faith . . . As the light of the risen Christ illumines the whole universe, we can only express solidarity with all our brothers and sisters in the Middle East who have been caught in a maelstrom of armed violence and retaliation. The roar of weapons must give way to the voice of reason and conscience: sincere concern for the legitimate aspirations of all peoples and the scrupulous observance of international law are the only way to bring the parties back to the negotiating table and to mark out a path of brotherhood for those peoples.
John Paul II, 18 April 2001
Like the disciples of Emmaus, believers, supported by the living presence of the risen Christ, become in turn the travelling companions of their brothers and sisters in trouble, offering them the word which rekindles hope in their hearts. With them they break the bread of friendship, brotherhood and mutual help. This is how to build the civilization of love. This is how to proclaim the hoped-for coming of the new heavens and the new earth to which we are heading.
John Paul II, Jubilee Day of Migrants and Refugees
O Brother Jesus,
who as a child was carried into exile,
remember all those who are deprived
of their home or country,
who groan under the burden
of anguish and sorrow,
enduring the burning heat of the sun,
the freezing cold of the sea,
or the humid heat of the forest,
searching for a place of refuge.
Cause these storms to cease, O Christ.
Move the hearts of those in power
that they may respect the men and women
whom You have created in your image;
that the grief of refugees
may be turned to joy,
as when you led Moses
and Your people out of captivity.
Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
Often war is waged only in order to show valor; thus an inner dignity is ascribed to war itself, and even some philosophers have praised it as an ennoblement of humanity, forgetting the pronouncement of the Greek who said, ‘War is an evil in as much as it produces more wicked men than it takes away.
If a war be undertaken for the most righteous end, before the resources of peace have been tried and proved vain to secure it, that war has no defense, it is a national crime.
Charles Eliot Norton
It is foolish in the extreme not only to resort to force before necessity compels, but especially to madly create the conditions that will lead to this necessity.
Benjamin Tucker, May 22, 1886
The feeling of patriotism - It is an immoral feeling because, instead of confessing himself a son of God . . . or even a free man guided by his own reason, each man under the influence of patriotism confesses himself the son of his fatherland and the slave of his government, and commits actions contrary to his reason and conscience.
Leo Tolstoy, Patriotism and Government
No one is more dangerous than one who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity. by definition is unassailable: James Baldwin (1924 - 1987) Notes of a native son, 1955
When faced with a choice between confronting an unpleasant reality and defending a set of comforting and socially accepted beliefs, most people choose the later course.
W. Lance Bennett.
The worst forms of tyranny, or certainly the most successful ones, are not those we rail against but those that so insinuate themselves into the imagery of our consciousness, and the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny.
I have seen men march to the wars,
and then I have watched their homeward tread,
And they brought back bodies of living men,
But their eyes were cold and dead:
Edmund Vance Cooke
When a whole nation is roaring patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.
Easter and the resurrection of Christ is nothing if not the story of our becoming a new Creation in Christ, of becoming a new Heaven and a new Earth. It is the story of the risen Jesus as the giver and source of this new Creation — given through the holy Spirit of Jesus who brings us grace and life and who is the divine energy propelling our world to new birth.
In our popular Christian way of thinking, Jesus opened our path to heaven by living, dying and rising to free us from our sins. If we live a good life here on earth, our souls go to Heaven — those who do not live life well face Hell. This focuses our present hope on the life hereafter, making the getting of that place in heaven the focus of our present life. There is, then, less reason to look at the new Earth that is a huge part of God’s new creation in Christ.
This wholly exclusive focus on Heaven gives Christians no incentive to help transform our fragile society into a place where everyone has a chance of living well, and where there is a radical equality in the way we treat one another (‘... you have only one Rabbi, and you are all sisters and brothers.’ Mt 23:8) — what a new place Earth would then be! Yet this is the very thing that Jesus asks of us.
If the Church is to recover some of this Christ energy, it will recover this Gospel story. The Gospel story, in fact, moves from Heaven to earth — Jesus came from heaven as God’s messenger of a new world — not the other way round! And this is what we pray in the Our Father — that God’s will be done on earth as it is eternally done in Heaven.
The whole of the New Testament sees Jesus as the person in whom God’s future enters our world now. This is the very point of all Jesus’ healings and miracles, his exorcisms and Jesus’ continuous offers of forgiveness. And the resurrection means nothing if not that in Jesus the Spirit of God has broken into this world. As Jesus repeats, ‘the Kingdom of God is among you.’ This Kingdom life of God has come and flooded our world. We remember and take to heart the example of the first century Christians who were full of this belief. Think of St Paul: ‘If anyone is in Christ there is a new Creation; everything old has passed away; see everything has become new.’ (2 Co 5:17). Christ fills us completely with new life and with all that God values most — a love and a freedom that promotes peace and justice. And we are called to oppose everything that is opposed to this kind of life that has come to us in the person of Jesus……..
Kevin Toomey op, Editor of Tui Motu InterIslands
Reflections on the readings
Reflections on the readings
Friends are making their way from one place – a place of hope-turned-into-despair, a place of perplexity and the unbelievable stories of women about seeing the risen Jesus – to another place: Emmaus. Emmaus seems to be that symbolic place to which we run when we have lost hope or don't know what to do, the place of escape, of forgetting, of giving up, of deadening our senses and our minds and maybe our hearts, too. Sometimes going to church can be like Emmaus when we can avoid the real world – the wounded world, the word with scars - when our faith community is called to support the ‘opening of eyes’ - of all of our eyes, to open our eyes ‘to the least of these’ with whom Jesus identifies.
It is easy to relate to the gospel as we think of the disciples, sad and disappointed. They had their eyes and hearts set on other things: ‘We had hoped that this Jesus was going to be the one who would restore the power of Israel, the chosen people?’ Remember the waving palms? What about the victory and celebrating and God’s kingdom coming to earth? All of it gone. But their dream was that Jesus might be like a new King David who would overcome Israel’s enemies and oppressors by resorting to violence and war. This was not the way things were to happen. We had hoped as did those who voted for Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton and ending with the election of a Donald Trump, or the possible election of Marie Le Pen in France. (This is in NO way an endorsement of any of these people.) The disappointment was not only that Jesus was put to death but that did not respond with any kind of power or might; that he did not meet violence with more violence.
Many people are still in this place. We see this at the present as more and more political leaders meet threats from countries like North Korea with more bellicose threats rather than opening our eyes to the possibility of diplomacy and opening our eyes to the almost 70 years of threats, genocide, sanctions and starvation that they have endured. Do we not see that these people are like us, with cares and concerns, hopes and dreams, and love for their families and friends. More at home even among practicing Christians there are calls for mandatory sentencing on offenders; still harsher treatment of asylum seekers; and, neglect of vulnerable people in our community. Can we not see these as ‘the least of these’ that Jesus often referred to and identified with? We often see the warrior god at work when nations destroy their enemies – who are in the main innocent people. This warrior God walks our streets when the perceived enemy is eliminated with jubilation and the loss of our own with grief and sadness. We are called to open our eyes to see, as did Thomas last Sunday in the gospel, that this God appears in our lives with scars and invites us to reach out and touch. Jesus teaches a totally new way: overcome violence through love; by loving the enemy, forgiving the enemy. Jesus offers a totally new way of making peace through justice.
As we sit down at table together and break bread, we can have our eyes opened in the breaking of the word and the bread. It is in the breaking of the bread that we ‘remember’ (anamnesia) who comes amongst us and whose body was broken for us; to remember that we make up one inclusive body; and to seek to ‘re-member’ (put together) or ‘peace together’ that body with those who are treated as ‘other’, as ‘enemy’, as ‘not like us’. The opposite to this remembering, to this awareness, is to ‘forget’ (amnesia) that we are part of one another. It is the beginning of violence.
The gospel story today reminds us that we do not walk alone. It can seem like it is pointless to go on, our voices and cries for justice and peace seem to be unheard – but we are not alone. In our journeying, our peacemaking, our caring, our attempts to make a positive change, we meet many women, men and children. What do we see? Will we see God hiding or will something prevent us from recognising that presence? Will the grime and the grit blind us? Will the ugly and the spiteful, the colour and the smell repel us? How do we deal with the things that make for difference and indifference, hostility and hatred?
When we recognise the Risen Lord - not only in the broken Bread but also in the breaking heart - then Easter becomes real for us. Then our hearts burn within us - not just when the Scriptures are proclaimed, or bread of the Eucharist broken, but also when we have the courage to recognise the risen Christ in everyone that crosses our path.
We are called to not give in to our weariness or pain. We are invited to return continually to share this food and draw strength from one another for the journey. Jesus meets us along the road that we take, but like in the story he might also reroute us as he did for the disciples and take us back into the heart of the struggle, into the world of others. We are reminded that whenever goodness is shared, tears dried, comfort given, charity done, the Stranger is present. We are all on a journey. Our paths are uneven. Losses, at times are heavy. We might seem to march without purpose whilst searching for some meaning. But we are not alone.
The stranger, who insisted on walking with the disciples, and walks with us, along the (Emmaus) road, is recognised in a gesture of hospitality, a wordless gesture, breaking bread as Jesus alive… as God with them – and us - still. It is along this road that the strangers find one another, cradle one another’s pain, share stories and what they mean, deliver each other by finding the presence of God together. The road that was taking them away from Jerusalem, away from the place of suffering and lost hopes now is the road that takes them back but this time towards hope, life and love. Hearts that were dull, hopeless, despairing, aggressive and violent can be wakened by the Stranger who accompanies us.
The gospel shows us that God is working in various ways and calls to cooperate and be part of the transformation of our world. When hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters strike, we are called to respond to the One who is at work in the midst of grief, death and suffering. As our planet is threatened by greedy consumerism, we are called to respond to the One who gave, and gives, life to the universe. When war and conflict cause suffering and harm to innocent people, and when political leaders attack their own people, we are called to respond to the One who brings peace. Of course, we can ignore these things and go about our lives as these things do no matter. We can walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, we can worship, etc., and then let him walk on, or we can invite him in for a meal, and allow ourselves to be drawn into his life and through our prayer and action be open to something breaking out or breaking into our lives calling for another response. ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road…...’ These burning hearts take us further into God’s world.