Third Sunday of Easter (April 30, 2017)

In today’s Gospel Luke gives us a feel for the disciples’ encounter with the risen Jesus. He also gives us the essentials for a Christian liturgy. Once the Scriptures have been opened and the bread has been broken and shared, the eyes of the disciples who have gathered are opened ever wider and once again Jesus is recognized among us. We are so moved in our faith by this encounter that we rush out to share the good news we have come to recognize more clearly as word and sacrament were celebrated.

Notice the disciples’ remark: “Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” Their words indicate an eagerness and an openness to listening to whatever Jesus was saying to them. That attitude of openness and eagerness to listening to Jesus’ words allowed their hearts to be touched by what they heard.

We have to bring that same attitude of openness and eagerness to listen to our celebration. We have to be attentive to the Scriptures readings for they are the living word of God, meant to teach us about our lives and how God is working in them.

We also have to come to each celebration of Eucharist with an active faith, believing that Jesus is present, offering himself to the Father for our sins and feeding us with his Body and Blood to strengthen us on our journey.

It’s very easy for all of us to come to Eucharist out of routine and forget that we encounter our God in the celebration. The more alive our faith is as we celebrate, the deeper the word of God can speak to us and the more fully we are nourished. We will be able to experience what the disciples on the road experienced - our hearts burning within us as Jesus speaks to us and nourishes us.

Perhaps, then, we will feel a greater urgency to share the good news we have experienced in faith-filled, Jesus-filled living.

Rev. Michael S. Murray, OSFS, is the Executive Director of the De Sales Spirituality Center.