April 23, 2023 — Third Sunday of Easter
ACTS 2:14, 22-33; PS 16:1-2, 5, 7-11; 1 PT 1:17-21; LK 24:13-35
Today’s readings focus on a theme of “sojourning.” As Christian stewards, we know that our lives are a sojourn toward the ultimate destination of heaven.
Our second reading instructs us to “conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed… with the precious blood of Christ.” What a powerful reminder during the Easter season of our “why” for embracing the stewardship way of life — we have been ransomed by our Lord’s saving death and resurrection. Our lives are a gift from Him — as we sojourn through life, we are to make our lives a gift to Him in return.
Our Gospel passage today describes a sojourn as well, the familiar Easter season story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The two are dejected and despondent after Jesus’ death. These men knew Jesus personally. They were believers. They had heard the Gospel message directly from His lips. They talked with Him, traveled with Him, and ate with Him. They heard the testimony of the women who discovered the empty tomb of our Lord and saw a vision of angels announcing He was alive. And if that were not enough, they had also been informed by other disciples who went to the tomb that all was exactly as the women reported.
How much more obvious could the Good News be?
And yet, at times, the reaction of the two disciples describes our own walk of faith, doesn’t it? We have the fullness of the Catholic faith, the power of the sacraments, and the support of our parish family. Yet, we lose our way. We fail to see all the gifts we have been given. We lack trust in the perfect goodness and almighty power of God. The life of a disciple — even for us modern-day disciples — is truly a sojourn, with valleys and mountaintops, wrong turns, and course corrections required regularly.
Our Lord offers a course correction to the two disciples who have lost their way, opening their eyes to the reality of His presence and the truth of His Resurrection. What happens when their eyes are opened once again, and they recognize Jesus in the Eucharist — “the breaking of the bread?” They are transformed! Their hearts are set on fire with love for the Lord and their faith. They recall that their hearts began “burning within” as the Lord was explaining the Scriptures to them.
So, what can we do when we become discouraged when we need our hearts set on fire once again? We can go to the same sources as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus — the Scriptures (the living Word of God) and the Eucharist (the very source and summit of our faith). Frequent recourse to these two gifts from our Lord is essential to sustain us in the stewardship way of life.
In this Easter season, resolve to feast deeply on these two sources of grace. They are the fuel that will propel us on the journey toward heaven, with a renewed sense of joy and gratitude as we go!