Browsing Homilies

Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14, 22-23 | Ps 16 | 1 Pt 1:17-21 | Lk 24:13-35

Loss. Heaviness. Heartache. Jesus is dead. Two despondent disciples are going home. All their expectations and joys are gone. Their hopes have been destroyed. The mission is over. Their eyes are downcast. There is an ache in the pit of their stomach. Can you feel how despondent, detached, and disheartened they are? To understand the Resurrection as the first disciples did, we must first get inside their agony. And not just any death: Jesus’ death. Have you ever felt that low? Do you feel that low now, at this point in your life?

Jesus doesn’t just pop in and say, “Hey, look, I’m here! There’s a happy ending!” They’re too dispirited for that. No, Jesus has mercy, and as always, meets people where they’re at: he who wept at the death of his friend, Lazarus, permits us to grieve. He engages them in quiet conversation. He is gentle. Each time he appears in the resurrection stories, he appears different somehow. They had known him before, but they simply do not recognize him now.

They walked a long way together. Jesus gradually brought them out of their funk by recasting the story that they had been telling themselves. He gave them a fresh understanding of who the Redeemer was to be. Their hearts started to burn within them!

Then in the breaking of the bread, suddenly their eyes are opened. Aha! They see! Awakened to joy, they turn and dash back to Jerusalem to the apostles! The resurrection of Jesus is an earthquake-causing “Aha!” Death has no more power. Life is the answer!

We may sometimes think that we’re headed home. But our true homeland doesn’t look like this one. The Word who became flesh transforms our despair into hope, our weariness into refreshment, our wanting to quit into perseverance, and our heartache into splendor. This is the meaning of the Paschal Mystery. This is the core of the Resurrection. This is the heart of the Christian story. This is the “Aha!” of Easter!

In the week ahead may our prayer be:

Lord, sometimes we just want to go home. Life can weigh us down. The world can be discouraging. Our struggles could never compare to the grief from your crucifixion, but you see that our eyes also can grow downcast, and the circumstances of our lives bring us to our knees. In these moments, walk with us on this road, risen Lord. We could use an “Aha!” moment. Reveal yourself to us! Make our hearts burn within us at your Presence, and let us delight at your right hand forever, for you are the joy of my life!


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