Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11; 1 Peter 1:17-21;Luke 24:13-35
3rd Sunday of Easter
Were not our hearts burning? (Luke 24:32)
Great writers have a knack for conveying deep, lasting truths in just a few words. This is the kind of artistry that we find in today’s Gospel. In telling the story of two people who meet the Lord on the road to Emmaus, St. Luke also tells us about the transforming power of the Mass.
Cleopas and another disciple were heading home sad because Jesus had been crucified (Luke 24:17-18). They still held out some hope because Mary Magdalene had told them about an empty tomb, but it doesn’t seem to have been enough for them. When Jesus met them on the road but concealed his identity, they shared their doubts with him. In response, he told them the story of salvation—and their hearts began to burn. Then at dinner, when Jesus blessed and broke the bread, “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (24:31). With their faith restored, the disciples turned around and hurried back to Jerusalem so that they could tell the others what had happened.
Over and over, we hear about people who have stopped going to Mass because they don’t feel that they get anything out of it. Often, however, this happens when the outer “form” of the Mass—the quality of the music, the appearance of the church, the various words and gestures of the liturgy—becomes more important than the inner “substance” of what is actually going on.
Form is when we say, “I confess.” Substance is our experience of God washing us clean. Form is the lector proclaiming the readings. Substance is God’s word coming alive in our hearts. Form is our act of receiving Communion. Substance is our openness to God and his power to fill our hearts. Substance moves us to change our lives and to share the good news about Jesus with our neighbors.
In short, form focuses more on what we do, but substance focuses on who we are meeting.
“Lord, let me see you at Mass today. May I never settle for less than everything that you want to give me!”~WAU