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3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A – Homily

3rd Sunday of Easter Year A
Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (11a)
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

With the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter spoke boldly to the Israelites.  He spoke of how they saw Jesus’ “mighty deeds, wonders, and signs” that God worked through Jesus in their midst.  Yet, they refused to believe.  Instead they had Jesus killed.  Peter then tells them of Jesus’ Resurrection.

God had chosen to make Jesus known through “mighty deeds, wonders, and signs.”  At other times, God hides his identity as He does when the two disciples encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  As Jesus drew near, “they eyes were prevented from recognizing him.” 

That didn’t prevent the two disciples from conversing with Jesus.  He asks them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” 

They are surprised He won’t know.  They think He must be the only person in Jerusalem who didn’t know.  They tell him what has happened in a way that I think they are pouring their hearts out to Jesus even though they don’t know it is him.

They speak of Jesus as a “prophet might in deed and word.”  They “were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.”  Yet, “the chief priests and rulers both handed him over” to be crucified.  Now, it is the third day and they have heard “that he was alive.

They were right when they hoped “that he would be the one to redeem Israel.”  They just didn’t know what it would mean for him to redeem Israel.  The Jews focused on the passages that were interpreted to expect a messiah who would defeat the Romans and restore the earthly kingdom of Israel.  That was the redemption they were expecting.

It was not the redemption that Jesus brought.  Yet, everything Jesus did fulfilled the prophecies.  Jesus knew they did not understand this.  So, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.

From this comes our understanding of Jesus as the Messiah.  He was the Suffering Servant in Isaiah.  He fulfilled the psalms that spoke of his  Passion. 

The two disciples eagerly listened to Jesus even though they did not recognize him.  Their hearts were burning with faith as what He said but still they did not recognize him. 

Embracing what Jesus had told them, they invited him to stay with them.  So, they sat down to share a meal together.  There, “he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.

They recalled what Jesus did at the Last Supper.  Now, it all made sense.  They knew who Jesus was. 

2,000 years later, we still celebrate the “breaking of the bread” in the Eucharist.  We know it is Jesus because of his words, “this is my body…this is my blood.”  In this time of the Coronavirus, many long to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

While we cannot gather together to celebrate Mass and sacramentally receive Jesus, we can invoke God as our Father.  As Peter says, if we are to invoke God as our Father, then we must conduct ourselves “with reverence.”

Reverence includes respect.  We need to recognize the sacredness of what we are celebrating and to pay proper respect.  This includes our postures at Mass.  It includes the way we dress.  It includes how much we pay attention.

However, the reverence we should show to God should not be just what we do at Mass.  It should involve the way we live our whole lives.  Do we live as God asks?

Do we follow the “path of life” that God reveals to us?  Do we simply seek the Lord as our “refuge” when times are tough or do we set the Lord always before us?

Are you willing to let God lead you on the path to life?

We have GPS units in our cars.  How many people today will get in their car, enter their destination in their GPS unit and trust it will lead them where they are supposed to go?

Yet, they don’t listen to God.  If we are willing to trust an electronic device to lead us, how come we aren’t willing to trust Jesus?  Jesus paid the ransom for our souls with his own “precious blood.”  He gave his life for us.  We can trust him. 

Our hearts burn with God’s love when we listen to Jesus.

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