Third Sunday of Easter - Year A

Thomas R. McCarthy, O.S.A.
Augustinian Vocation Director
Villanova, Pennsylvania

Acts 2: 14. 22-23
Ps 16: 1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
1 Pt 1: 17-21
Lk 24: 13-35

About 15 years ago, I was on a cruise through the Greek Isles. It was a wonderful trip I was sharing with a fellow Augustinian friar. One day after the afternoon excursion, the Captain came on the loudspeaker saying our departure would be delayed due to the tragic death of a crew member who died in a car accident while on shore.

A few hours later, someone was knocking on my cabin door. It was the Cruise Director whom I met when I had offered to say Mass for the ship that Sunday. She asked if I would conduct a ten-minute funeral the next day for the benefit of the crew. You see, the crew becomes very close due to the nature of spending months together in close quarters on the ship. I said you certainly don’t know me because I have never spoken less than ten minutes in my life! The funeral had to be ten minutes so the schedule of the ship would not be disrupted. I of course said yes to her request.

After the funeral, a young waiter from Burma met me the next day by the pool area and asked if I had the Eucharist with me. I was just about to get in the jacuzzi, I did not have the Eucharist with me! He told me it was eight months since he had last received the Eucharist and when he realized I was a Catholic priest, he searched me out to ask me if he could receive the Eucharist. I said absolutely. He came to my cabin and we celebrated Mass. The joy on his face was priceless!

I can only imagine the joy the Burmese waiter felt when he received Jesus in the Eucharist was akin to the joy the two disciples felt when they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread on the road to Emmaus.

How do we long for Jesus in our lives? How do we recognize Jesus in the Eucharist? How are we different because Jesus is a part of our life journey?

The Gospel story today challenges us to look at our relationship with Jesus. How are we like the disciples on the road who are trying to deal with ups and downs of life? They hoped in and believed in Jesus but were saddened when they did not understand what was happening. How are we searching for Jesus and how do we see him in the people and events all around us?

As we celebrate the Eucharist today, let’s be aware of how we are different because Jesus is in our lives. Hopefully, he is the center of our lives.

During this Easter Season, let the joy of the Resurrection permeate our lives. Let us be, as St. Augustine says, “an Easter people who have Alleluia as our song!”

The disciples recognized Jesus in the Eucharist. The Burmese waiter longed for Jesus in the Eucharist. How are you and I doing the same?