April 30, 2017 — Third Sunday of Easter
Today’s Gospel Reading recounts Jesus’ appearance to two disciples who were on the road to Emmaus. In various scriptural passages, there are 12 accounts of Jesus appearing in the flesh, a few times to just one person, but once to 500 people (1 Corinthians 15: 6). What is interesting about today’s account is the two, although evidently familiar with the Lord, do not recognize Him (“…their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”).
This is a challenge for us today as well. St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) once wrote, “I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus; I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.” That should be our motivation for serving, for being a disciple, for practicing stewardship.
Like the two disciples going to Emmaus we must be alert and prepared to see Jesus in places we least imagine Him. Stewardship is, of course, a two-sided perspective. Not only do we need to seek and search for Jesus in others and then serve, but also others need to see and recognize Jesus in us.
If we properly live out our faith, we, too, may experience the sense of joy and ecstasy the two disciples found in today’s Gospel: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened Scriptures to us?” Jesus speaks to us every day, but we must learn to listen.
The original Greek word for what we read as “throes of death” could also be translated as “the birth pains of death.” Jesus’ resurrection is as if He was in the womb, and being raised in this way He was born to new life. That is what we, too, can expect and hope for.