Will the Sunday preachers note that in the first reading from Acts 2:25-28, Saint Peter is quoting Psalm 16:8-11[1] that is also part of the second reading.  Saint Peter is not insisting that Jesus is truly risen (as he said) but that his Resurrection marks the fulfillment of the prophecies of the First Testament.  That is what Peter means when he says in Acts 2:33, “he [Jesus] received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the father and poured him forth [on the Faithful], as you see and hear.”

 

The whole Gospel of Luke, furthermore, is about what the facts mean, about deeds and words, rather than just about the deeds, leaving the facts to speak for themselves.  In reality, facts do not speak for themselves and do require explanation.  Explaining the facts is the function of historians, like me.[2]  The reading for this Third Sunday of Easter, Luke 24:13-35, is part of the catechesis of the Risen Lord, Luke 24:1-53, explaining what the facts mean.[3]  In the process, Luke spreads out what the other Evangelists condense.[4]

 

Just as Jesus continued to teach the Faithful after his Resurrection, so he continues to teach the Faithful through the Church and through his Eucharistic presence.  The same explanation Jesus offers on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:25-27, he offers to the larger community in Luke 24:44-48 at readings 47B also the Third Sunday of Easter and 58C The Ascension of the Lord.  Luke is the sole source for what happened on the Road to Emmaus.  Whereas Mark and Matthew emphasize the Twelve, Luke portrays a broader group of itinerant disciples, especially women.[5]

 

Wherein the Acts of the Apostles 2:24 refers to Jesus released from the throes of death, the implication is to Peter himself released from chains in prison.  Similarly, Jesus has released the very chains of death from the Faithful.  Salvation is salvation from death itself and an Exodus from bondage to Satan.[6]  In Acts 2:32-33, God perfects Jesus in his role as Messiah mediating the promised gift of the Holy Spirit[7] that turns out to be the gift of eternal life.

 

Paul finds in the Cross the instrument of salvation atoning for sin.  Luke offers a different tack, as an Exodus or rescue from death, rather than an instrument of salvation.  Paul offers a theology of the Cross; Luke a theology of Glory, whereby the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension are an indivisible complex of mysterious events leading to eternal life free from Satan and death.[8]  Saint John of the Cross is more like Paul; Saint Therese of Lisieux like Luke.  Saint Therese cites Luke forty-five times in her autobiography.[9]

 

When Peter proclaims for David says of him, Peter is referring to the 16th Psalmist that he then quotes.  Psalm 16:11a, the Responsorial antiphon, says that the LORD will show us the path of life.  In the Lectionary, Peter, Acts 2:28, uses the past tense, you have made known to me the paths of life.  Such are the paths the Faithful trod toward eternal life.

 

Searching for the right paths is a prudential unending task in this life.  The certainty of the love of God made manifest in the life of Jesus is the over-arching purpose of both preaching and the proclamations of Luke, both in his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles.  By mentioning conduct in both verses, 1 Peter 1:17-18 implies the need to search for right paths.

 

Because no human is omniscient, the task of searching for right paths becomes complicated.  All humans act with some deficit in knowledge, in particular Saint Peter.  Everyone feels that there are many people smarter than they are.  Besides that, some people suffer from various forms of mental illness, especially dementia in old age.  This means that everyone has a need to rely on good counsel, recognized in the breaking of the bread, Luke 24:30 and 35.  Psalm 16:7 blesses the LORD who [directly][10] counsels me.

 

Luke is the Gospel of questions, 152.  This passage has five questions, inviting that dialog required for good counsel.  The question in Luke 24:17, what are you discussing was set up by Luke 24:13-15 about all the things that had occurred.[11]  Luke is explaining the theological meaning of what had happened.

 

The disciples on their way to Emmaus claim “our chief priests and rulers” (Luke 24:20).  In other words, the disciples had not rebelled.  However, neither had Jesus rebelled, as the Centurion proclaimed in Luke 23:47, this man was innocent beyond doubt.  The chief priests and rulers disappointed the disciples by taking them in the wrong political direction against Jesus, as would become more evident after the Resurrection.  The Faithful can expect no less.

 

The disciples on their way to Emmaus headed in the wrong direction politically, that is against Jesus, with their rulers, but the disciples were also walking in the wrong direction physically and at the wrong time.  With the breaking of the bread, the disciples realized they had not understood the facts and their behavior required modification.  Not waiting for morning, they immediately turned right around and headed back to Saint Peter and the Apostles, in Jerusalem, about seven miles (Luke 24:13) away.

 

Recognizing Jesus in the travels of life is an everlasting effort that should expect behavioral changes.  Sometimes these expectations can well up from the unconscious, at other times these expectations can well up from the inability to think well, as the brain deteriorates.  The point is to accept the associated suffering, as Luke 24:26 puts it, suffer these things and enter into his [Christ’s] glory.[12]

 

Luke 24:24 indicates a group went to the tomb to find Jesus.  Luke 24:34 does say that Jesus appeared to Simon Peter.  Simon is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew Simeon.[13]  In the original Greek, appeared is a technical term from the Septuagint meaning revelation.[14]  No one would have believed Peter alone, any more than the women who found the empty tomb.  Luke 24:24 has Peter visiting the tomb with others, as Cleopas reports.[15]  Jesus kept appearing to groups.

 

The first day of week that the Lectionary uses to begin the reading, is not found in Luke 24:13, as the Lectionary indicates, but rather is a carry-over from 24:1.  The issue is how to express when the Resurrection did occur, after three days or on the first day of the week.  The Syrian tradition is after three days, the Greek on the first day of the week.  The difference is in theological emphasis. Luke 42:21 notes, it is now the third day.  Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:4-5 refers to the third day.[16]  Luke was a companion of Paul.

 

The third day of Luke imposes a new order on the Triduum.  Originally, there were three Easter traditions invoking (1) chronological sequence, (2) geographical sequence, and (3) logical sequence.  The purpose of the new order is to proclaim punctual fulfillment of the prophecies of Jesus, Luke 24:44-46, and the prophecies of the First Testament, Luke 24:45-46.  The ultimate goal is to provide the correct understanding of what happened, a logical interrelatedness, not a chronological sequence, and not a spatial completeness of the facts.[17]

 

The third day in Luke 24:1-9, 21-24, 46 is also an allusion to the Septuagint Prophet Josiah 5:15—6:4.  The third day of Luke 24:7, 21, and 46 fulfilled the prophecy of Josiah 5:3.  Because the contemporary Aramaic Jewish Targum for Josiah surprisingly omits any reference to the third day, suspicion of a translation conflict arises between the apostolic church and Jewish contemporaries.  This conflict, in turn, may mark the definitive split between church and synagogue between 85 and 100 AD.  After that time, rabbinic commentators return to the third day, assigning it to the final resurrection of the Faithful.[18]

 

The third day in Luke reflects a Greek Church preference.  The Aramaic Church preference for the first day of the week is found in Mark 16:2; John 20:19; 1 Cor 16:2, Acts 20:7.  The Aramaic Church regarded the Resurrection as coming after three days, rather than on the third day.  For the Aramaic Church, the first day of the week meant a new creation had begun.[19]

 

Luke, written about 90 AD, shows no sign of the earlier Aramaic influence.  Luke made his proclamation agree with the Greek creed.  The emphasis in Luke is on the primacy of Peter to whom Jesus appears, without mention of the women.  In Luke, Peter sees the Resurrected Christ in the theologically appropriate Jerusalem, rather than in Galilee.[20]

 

One young scholar, Holly E. Hearon, wonders whether Matthew and John rewove what Jesus did about feminine leadership into a patriarchal model.  Her wonderment earned her doctorate and publication by Liturgical Press.  She is not overly convincing, but the thought is there.[21]

 

Richard Bauckham, another highly challenged but far more established scholar, thinks that those with them [the eleven] Luke 24:33, included women.  Bauckham also points out that if the apostles did not believe the women; neither did they believe Jesus himself.  This lack of belief is a major theme of the Resurrection narratives.[22]  The Church uses this need for belief to invoke a need for a simplistic belief no longer viable in this age of hierarchical cover-ups.

 

Taken together, Luke is about the triumphal announcement that all of the prophecies are fulfilled in the Easter Resurrection, especially seen in these readings at Luke 24:25-27.  Jesus himself began the first catechesis of the primitive Church, with the burning hearts of Luke 24:32, a catechesis that continues through the ages to the present time.  Luke 24:19 shows a unity mighty in deed and word.  The word part of the unity is a unity of ideas and understanding.[23]

 

In Luke 24:25, Jesus is direct, calling the disciples on their way to Emmaus foolish for not believing the women.[24]  As part of the dialog, earlier, Cleopas, was likewise direct, are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know … Luke 24:18.  Cleopas is a sign that Luke named an eyewitness or, more likely the son of an eyewitness, available to him.  Luke, therefore, probably also used women eyewitnesses.  Bauckham thinks Cleopas was the same Clopas as of Mary of Clopas at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25).[25]

 

Even the charge foolish does not cause the disciples to take note of just who was their companion.  That recognition only came with the breaking of the bread in verse 31, after which Jesus vanished from their sight.  Jesus remains vanished from the physical sight of the Faithful in favor of a spiritual vision of the soul.

 

The Church took four centuries before settling on a standard behavior for saying Mass, something still unsettled and unsettling.  Comfort must not be the issue. Courage in the face of uncertainty must be closer to the issue.  Behavior and behavior patterns deserve an ongoing examination of conscience.

 

If God is fulfilling his promises in the Faithful, then is nothing a sin for the Faithful?  If the Faithful act with good intention, is there nothing else?  That is right, there is nothing else.  Good intention, however, includes the virtue of prudence.  Prudence is that virtue, which not only keeps the other virtues in line with holiness, but prudence is also the virtue that inspires good intentions to change behavior.  The search for prudence prevents the Faithful from complacency with their good fortune realizing the promises of Christ.

 

The overall thought for these readings is that God assures the Faithful of everlasting life, of salvation from death, of an exodus from the conflicts of this life, all through the Resurrection and Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ.  The Acts of the Apostles begins by quoting Psalm 19:8-11.  1 Peter 1:17-21 insists that the promises of the First Testament not only are fulfilled in Jesus Christ but that they include the certainty of everlasting life.  Luke 24:13-35 goes on to dialogue with God in the search for good counsel.  First, Cleopas wonders just how ignorant Jesus can be.  Jesus returns the wonderment by calling the disciples foolish for not believing the women.  That out of the way, the point is that the Faithful have nothing to fear, even when their minds do not work well, because God will protect them from all harm.

 

================================================================

 

Scriptural references to the Lectionary follow.  Since the main purpose of these Notes is annotating the scriptural references in the index at www.western-civilization.com, references pertinent, but not fitting the flow imposed above, are included below.  I do not assume that the reader is following the readings cited either in the Lectionary or in the Bible.  Like the footnotes, the citations are for reference purposes for anyone interested.  The large, bold letters facilitate locating exactly what the Lectionary presents for these Notes.

 

Acts 2:14, 22-33

 

Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (11a)

Psalm 16 is already written up at E:\Microsoft Office\Word\Letters\OLMC\Bible Study2 2003\Bible Study031116_Thirty_third Sunday in Ordinary Time_158B.doc

 

The Lectionary uses this Psalm at four Sunday liturgies.

 

Readings      Page in         Verses used            Responsorial Antiphon

                     Lectionary                                              Sunday

 

   41B            323                      5,    8, 9-10, 11 (1)      Easter

   46A            369-370        1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (11a)  Easter 3 Today

   99C            675               1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (5a)    Ordinary 13

 158B            966                      5,    8,  1-10, 11 (1)      Ordinary 33

 

Psalm 16:2, both here and in Reading 99C, is only 2a, according to the Vulgate.

 

Psalm 16:11 offers a sign of unsettling and unsettled sloppy scholarship, again.

Reading        Text

41B               fullness of joys in your presence

46A               abounding joy in your presence

99C              fullness of joys in your presence

158B             fullness of joys in your presence

 

1 Peter 1:17-21

 

Cf. Luke 24:32

 

Luke 24:13-35

 

For more on sources see the Appendix file.

 



[1] Paul Overland, “Did the Sage Draw from the Shema? A Study of Proverbs 3:1-12,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (July 2000) 424.

 

[2] Richard J. Dillon, "Previewing Luke’s Project from His Prologue (Luke 1:1-4),” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1981) 225-226.

 

[3] Brendan Byrne, S.J., “Jesus as Messiah in the Gospel of Luke: Discerning a Pattern of Correction,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003) 94-95.

 

[4] Neil J. McEleney, C.S.P., “Peter’s Denials—How Many? To Whom?” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 52, No 3 (July 1990) .469-470.

 

[5] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 193.

 

 

[6] Susan R. Garrett, “Exodus from Bondage: Luke 9:31 and Acts 12:1-24," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 4 (October 1990) 659, 669, 672.

 

[7] John M. Perry, “The Three Days in the Synoptic Passion Predictions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 640.

 

[8] Susan R. Garrett, “Exodus from Bondage: Luke 9:31 and Acts 12:1-24," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 4 (October 1990) 679-680.

 

[9] St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul:  A New Translation, Robert J. Edmonson, CJ, (translator) (Brewster, Massachusetts: Paraclete Press, 2006).

 

[10] Joseph Jensen, O.S.B., “Yahweh’s Plan in Isaiah and the Rest of the Old Testament," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 3 (July 1986), 453.

 

[11] Paul Elbert, “An Observation on Luke’s Composition and Narrative Style of Questions,“ the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January 2004) 101 and 101.

 

[12] Brendan Byrne, S.J., “Jesus as Messiah in the Gospel of Luke: Discerning a Pattern of correction,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003) 87.

 

[13] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 182-183.

 

[14] John Kloppenborg, “An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Formula 1 Cor 15:3b-5 In Light of Some Recent Literature," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1978) 354.

 

[15] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 222.

 

[16] John Kloppenborg, “An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Formula 1 Cor 15:3b-5 In Light of Some Recent Literature," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1978) 358.

 

[17] Richard J. Dillon, “Previewing Luke’s Project from His Prologue (Luke 1:1-4)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1981) 222-223.

 

[18] John M. Perry, “The Three Days in the Synoptic Passion Predictions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 644-645.

 

[19] John M. Perry, “The Three Days in the Synoptic Passion Predictions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 645-646.

 

[20] John M. Perry, “The Three Days in the Synoptic Passion Predictions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 654.

 

[21] Jocelyn McWhirter, review of Holly E. Hearon, The Mary Magdalene Tradition: Witness and Counter-Witness in Early Christian Communities in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No 4 (October 2004) 650-651.

 

[22] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 188. 269,282.

 

[23] Richard J. Dillon, “Previewing Luke’s Project from His Prologue (Luke 1:1-4)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1981) 212, 213, 225.

 

[24] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 276, 279.

 

[25] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 189, 194, 301 footnote 127.