Father Koch: The Word uses the Word of God to instruct the disciples

April 12, 2024 at 9:25 a.m.
For his Gospel reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter, Father Garry Koch speaks on how Jesus taught the disciples about Scripture, the Word of God. Photo from Shutterstock.com
For his Gospel reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter, Father Garry Koch speaks on how Jesus taught the disciples about Scripture, the Word of God. Photo from Shutterstock.com (Freedom Studio)


Gospel reflection for April 14, 2024, Third Sunday of Easter

Two disciples had left Jerusalem and were walking to a town called Emmaus, about five miles from Jerusalem. There they encountered a stranger who explained many things to them about the Scriptures and opened their minds to understand the meaning of the events that had unfolded in Jerusalem over the past few days. It was only that very morning that the women reported that the tomb of Jesus was empty, and Mary Magdalene had even claimed to have seen him alive. This stranger, who then stopped to have a meal with the two, broke and shared the bread with them in the same manner as Jesus had done at the Last Supper. It was only then that the disciples recognized him. By then, however, he had disappeared from their sight.

It is a common motif in the Gospels that the disciples are slow to recognize Jesus after the Resurrection. First, it is clear that they are not expecting him — after all, he has been crucified and they are still in a state of mourning and fear. For this reason, Jesus frequently first extends peace to the disciples, precisely to alleviate their fear and to draw them to himself. It is only then that he can truly open their minds and hearts to understand who he is and then to instruct them in the Scriptures. Jesus is what he has fulfilled — the Law and the Prophets.

These same two disciples hastily made their way back to the room where the disciples were gathered to report to them their encounter with Jesus. It is this encounter that we hear in the Gospel for this Third Sunday of Easter.

Although Luke’s account places a different emphasis on the events of that evening, there are many important parallels to the passage found in John’s Gospel. The disciples are commissioned to proclaim the Gospel to the world and are also empowered to forgive sins.

Unique to Luke, and in consistency with the events and recounted by the two disciples on the road, Jesus opens up the Scriptures to them.

The disciples, though faithful Jews, were not schooled in the Scriptures. They heard them proclaimed in the synagogue, and likely had memorized portions of them, but they were by no means experts.

Throughout his ministry Jesus had made many references to the sacred texts and drew from them certain allusions to himself and his ministry, but his teaching was not principally focused on Scripture. Now, having instructed the disciples on how they are to exercise their ministry, Jesus teaches them how to teach the Jewish community.

This is a new way of thinking and of using the Scriptures. Jesus shows them how he is the fulfillment of the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. This fulfillment is not merely a one-to-one correspondence of an ancient occurrence drawing a parallel to Jesus, but it is a path to the completion of the old so that the new can be established.

While the Law remains in force until the end of time, Jesus has performed the totality of the ritual of the Law -- which is why those of us baptized into Christ, are not bound to the observance of the Old Testament Laws. Jesus atoned for our sins through his Passion and Death. Jesus has established a new covenant through the paschal events and expressed most completely in the Eucharist, which he inaugurated at the Last Supper.

Jesus is himself the Word of God. It is in and through him that God uttered the words of creation, and then brought about the re-creation through the Paschal mystery.

It is this same Word which we proclaim in the Liturgy and by which we live out our lives of faith. Only the Word of God can explain the Word to us. This is why the Church hands-on, maintains and interprets the Scriptures for us.

Jesus is that which he speaks -- the living Word of God.

Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.


Related Stories

Gospel reflection for April 14, 2024, Third Sunday of Easter

Two disciples had left Jerusalem and were walking to a town called Emmaus, about five miles from Jerusalem. There they encountered a stranger who explained many things to them about the Scriptures and opened their minds to understand the meaning of the events that had unfolded in Jerusalem over the past few days. It was only that very morning that the women reported that the tomb of Jesus was empty, and Mary Magdalene had even claimed to have seen him alive. This stranger, who then stopped to have a meal with the two, broke and shared the bread with them in the same manner as Jesus had done at the Last Supper. It was only then that the disciples recognized him. By then, however, he had disappeared from their sight.

It is a common motif in the Gospels that the disciples are slow to recognize Jesus after the Resurrection. First, it is clear that they are not expecting him — after all, he has been crucified and they are still in a state of mourning and fear. For this reason, Jesus frequently first extends peace to the disciples, precisely to alleviate their fear and to draw them to himself. It is only then that he can truly open their minds and hearts to understand who he is and then to instruct them in the Scriptures. Jesus is what he has fulfilled — the Law and the Prophets.

These same two disciples hastily made their way back to the room where the disciples were gathered to report to them their encounter with Jesus. It is this encounter that we hear in the Gospel for this Third Sunday of Easter.

Although Luke’s account places a different emphasis on the events of that evening, there are many important parallels to the passage found in John’s Gospel. The disciples are commissioned to proclaim the Gospel to the world and are also empowered to forgive sins.

Unique to Luke, and in consistency with the events and recounted by the two disciples on the road, Jesus opens up the Scriptures to them.

The disciples, though faithful Jews, were not schooled in the Scriptures. They heard them proclaimed in the synagogue, and likely had memorized portions of them, but they were by no means experts.

Throughout his ministry Jesus had made many references to the sacred texts and drew from them certain allusions to himself and his ministry, but his teaching was not principally focused on Scripture. Now, having instructed the disciples on how they are to exercise their ministry, Jesus teaches them how to teach the Jewish community.

This is a new way of thinking and of using the Scriptures. Jesus shows them how he is the fulfillment of the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. This fulfillment is not merely a one-to-one correspondence of an ancient occurrence drawing a parallel to Jesus, but it is a path to the completion of the old so that the new can be established.

While the Law remains in force until the end of time, Jesus has performed the totality of the ritual of the Law -- which is why those of us baptized into Christ, are not bound to the observance of the Old Testament Laws. Jesus atoned for our sins through his Passion and Death. Jesus has established a new covenant through the paschal events and expressed most completely in the Eucharist, which he inaugurated at the Last Supper.

Jesus is himself the Word of God. It is in and through him that God uttered the words of creation, and then brought about the re-creation through the Paschal mystery.

It is this same Word which we proclaim in the Liturgy and by which we live out our lives of faith. Only the Word of God can explain the Word to us. This is why the Church hands-on, maintains and interprets the Scriptures for us.

Jesus is that which he speaks -- the living Word of God.

Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


En su tercer día, el Congreso Eucarístico invita a los católicos a encontrar sanación en la Eucaristía, compartirlo con los demás
"Dulce unción, amor purificador, sanador misericordioso, amor eterno".

Congress's Day 3 invites Catholics to find God's healing in the Eucharist, share it with others
Tony Meléndez sang to his guitar, telling the audience gathered at Lucas Oil Stadium July 19...

In the midst of Olympic craze in Paris, Notre Dame guide's advice is: Watch the beauty of the cathedral
Even if the spotlight is now on sports stadiums ahead...

Eucharistic Congress underway in Indianapolis
The Congress has seen participants engaging in various Eucharistic-centered activities...

National congress's second night of Eucharistic revival: 'Only love can make a saint'
On the second night of the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 18, close to 50,000 Catholics....


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.