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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Journey on the Road to Emmaus with the Risen Christ

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Third Sunday of Easter, April 30, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

As we come together again,  let us allow Our Lord Jesus to open our minds and hearts
to the mystery of His resurrection.
On this Third Sunday of Easter, our Church gives us the Gospel of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35) This is one of the most intriguing manifestations of our resurrected Lord.
Two disciples of Our Lord left Jerusalem late on Sunday and walked to a town seven miles away called Emmaus. We do not know  where this town is located or why they were leaving Jerusalem.

What we do know, however, is that these two men were shaken up by what had occurred in Jerusalem -- Jesus Christ had been crucified and died. They had heard that He had risen from the dead. 

They are discussing these things when Our Lord Jesus suddenly appears beside them. They do not recognise Him because they didn't believe that He had risen from the dead. They think He is a stranger, so they begin a conversation with Him. Slowly, Our Lord opens their eyes and hearts to the reality of Who was in front of them and that in fact He had risen from the dead.

In fact, these witnesses of the Risen Christ make a 180-degree turn! They immediately return to Jerusalem to speak about what they had seen and heard on the Road to Emmaus.

My brothers and sisters, let us allow Our Lord to open our eyes and hearts to the message of today’s Gospel. As Christians, each one of us is on a journey -- not to any town or city, but to heaven. Today’s Gospel calls us to  
recognize the greater meaning of our faith through the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Church is a mystical Church. Many seem to focus on social justice, and lose sight of the fact that the end is not temporal nor earthly, but heavenly and eternal. In fact, Cardinal Robert Sarah, who was appointed as prefect for the 
Congregation for Divine Worship  by Pope Francis in 2014, recently gave us a reminder of the importance of our Church’s mission as the mystical body of Christ. 

“If the Church, with the obsession she has today with the values of justice, social rights and the struggle against poverty, ends up as a result by forgetting her contemplative soul, she will fail in her mission and she will be abandoned by a great many of her faithful, owing to the fact that they will no longer recognize in her what constitutes her specific mission,” Cardinal Sarah said. So he reminds us of our ultimate end, eternal life.

The two ways we come to a deeper understanding of the revelation of the risen Christ is through the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist. As Our Lord Jesus opened the minds of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus with what had been said about Him
They recognised Him in the breaking of the bread
in all the Scriptures, so Our Lord has given us His Church to understand what is said of Christ in Sacred Scripture. We have the magisterium and we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church to help us come to a better understanding of the Word of God.

As Catholics, we believe in the True Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. This sacred gift is not simply bread and wine. No, this gift is the literal Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In fact, many saints have lived for years on nothing but the Holy Eucharist because this food is not earthly food but eternal food. For example, we just celebrated the feast of Saint Catherine of Sienna who lived in the 14th century. For the seven-year period before her death, Saint Catherine took no food into her body other than the Eucharist. Although Catherine ate nothing but the Holy Eucharist, this did not cause her to lose energy. No, the Holy Eucharist instead became a source of extraordinary strength.

My brothers and sisters, as we reflect on the revelation of Our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel passage, let us allow our Lord to open our eyes and hearts to the gift that comes
Fr. John Paul Shea
before us as Catholics! Our Lord Jesus has come into our world to give eternal salvation to those who believe in Him! Our Lord indeed suffered and has risen from the dead.  And Our Lord has given us His Church with His Word of Truth and the Holy Eucharist to guide us and to strengthen us until He comes again!

In this time in which we live today when many are living in sin and when many souls are in jeopardy of perishing for eternal life, let us therefore recognize the manifestation of the
risen Lord by living in His Word and receiving Him worthily in the Holy Eucharist.

For, the reality is that this world of the flesh is ending, and a new world is coming. Our Lord is coming again, and those who live in spirit and truth will live in the new world to come and will see the fullness of Our Lord face to face. 

Let us therefore come to recognize this great gift that waits. Let us give our entire lives, body, mind, and soul to Our Lord Jesus Christ so that we can be found worthy to live in the mystical grace of His Father’s Kingdom forever. Amen.


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