Cycle A

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

A Reading from the Holy Gospel

according to Saint Luke


That very day, the first day of the week,

two of Jesus’ disciples were going

to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,

and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.

And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,

Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,

but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them,

“What are you discussing as you walk along?”

They stopped, looking downcast.

One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,

“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem

who does not know of the things

that have taken place there in these days?”

And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him,

“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,

who was a prophet mighty in deed and word

before God and all the people,

how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over

to a sentence of death and crucified him.

But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;

and besides all this,

it is now the third day since this took place.

Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:

they were at the tomb early in the morning

and did not find his body;

they came back and reported

that they had indeed seen a vision of angels

who announced that he was alive.

Then some of those with us went to the tomb

and found things just as the women had described,

but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!

How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things

and enter into his glory?”

Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,

he interpreted to them what referred to him

in all the Scriptures.

As they approached the village to which they were going,

he gave the impression that he was going on farther.

But they urged him, “Stay with us,

for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”

So he went in to stay with them.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table,

he took bread, said the blessing,

broke it, and gave it to them.

With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,

but he vanished from their sight.

Then they said to each other,

“Were not our hearts burning within us

while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem

where they found gathered together

the eleven and those with them who were saying,

“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”

Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

(The Gospel of the Lord)

May your people exult for ever,

O God,

in renewed youthfulness of spirit,

so that,

rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption,

we may look forward in confident hope

to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

One God, 

for ever and ever.


(The Collect)


That Latin word is the word Saint Jerome chose to translate from the Greek manuscript the response of one of the two disciples Jesus approached on the road to Emmaus.

He asked them what they were talking about while looking so sad and that one Latin word perfectly catches the essence of their lamentations:


“we used to hope”

All of us have encountered situations in life where we said “I (we) used to hope.”

Maybe it was when, after accompanying a sick friend or relative who was terminally ill we finally are told by the doctors that the end is near.  “We used to hope” for a miracle, either supernatural or scientific, that would have spared the life of our loved one, but now no more; “sperabamus,” we used to hope.

Or maybe it was when we hoped to get a job only to be told that someone else had been hired; “sperabamus” we used to hope for that employment.  Or maybe it was after a long courtship we finally proposed marriage to the one we loved, only to be told “no”; sperabamus we used to hope.

All situations like that can cause sadness, despondency, depression.

In most cases it is possible to recover from the sadness, the depression.  But if you had been one of those following Jesus Christ for all or most of his public ministry and had heard his promises of eternal life, what could possibly alleviate the shock, the pain, the despair that his Passion, Death and Burial would inflict on you?

Truly you would say: “sperabamus” we used to hope!

I imagine that something similar had happened earlier on the occasion when Jesus had performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and fed the five thousand people.

The people were elated with the miracle and followed him across the lake.

On the other side of the lake he drew upon the miracle to instruct the people about the need receive Holy Communion, only he did not call it that, he told them to “eat his flesh and drink his blood.”  Many people were shocked by such talk and they walked away, even some of his own disciples.

They probably said to themselves, “we used to hope “sperabamus” but this talk of eating his flesh and drinking his blood is too much.  And they went away sad !

Jesus said to his remaining disciples:

“Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him “Lord, to whom shall we go?

You have the words of eternal life, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God!”

We cannot imagine the surprise and relief from their deep depression that occurred    when Jesus sat down with the two disciples in the inn on the road to Emmaus “… it happened that, while he was with them at table,he took bread, said the blessing,

broke it, and gave it to them.

With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him…”

The Eucharist has the power to do that.

It has the power to take away the suffering that comes from despair.

I remember the shock I had when I read in the book “Letters between Jacques Maritain and Jean Cocteau that on hearing Coceau complain of depression Maritain advised him to receive Holy Communion.

Cocteau objected “What, are you prescribing Holy Communion as you would an aspirin?”  To which Maritain replied “Yes, like a aspirin! Take it for what ails you spiritually!”

That is good advice !!!

Almighty God, Eternal Father,

may your ‘Easter People” exult for ever,

O God,

in a youthfulness of spirit you have renewed us in our Easter Liturgy

so that,

rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption as your sons and daughters

we may receive your Body and Blood in the Eucharist and thus look forward in confident hope

to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.

We ask this t hrough our Lord Jesus Christ,

Your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

One God, 

for ever and ever.


About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. Msgr. C’s homily today was very interesting. He compared the story of Emmaus to the Mass. He showed how Jesus spoke of the Scriptures and then explained them regarding Himself. This corresponds to the Readings and homily at Mass. Then he showed how they gathered together and then Jesus took the bread and broke it. This corresponds to the Consecration and then Holy Communion. I had never thought of this story in that context. Much to meditate on here.

  2. How true this is, Bishop! The Eucharist for what ails us spiritually! Many times, unable to receive Jesus, and being overwhelmed with terrible grief, I have “remembered”…” pictured” the elevation of the Eucharist …the moment when I can say ..”He’s here!!!” Just this Remembrance of Him can be enough to lift my soul out of itself and into the Heart of God…Who is all Love and Joy!! Indeed, we recognize Him in the breaking of the Bread!!!!
    (I love this Gospel , too)

  3. Thank-you, Bishop, for these words of comfort. Once in my life I was without hope, but the Lord brought me back. I pray to never lose hope ever again. My husband and I now receive Holy Communion often.
    Thank-you and God bless you!

  4. 3names1God says:

    sperabamus…The holy Eucharist the remedy for all that is ailing you and confession the pathway to the ale of life. Hope against hope…Romans4:18. Thank you very much for you homily…

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