April 26, 2020 – Third Sunday of Easter

Dearest sisters and brothers, today is the Third Sunday of Easter.  While we continue to share in the joy of our Risen Christ, St. Peter, in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, reminds us that we all, like his listeners, are witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.  In his Letter in the second reading, the same Peter challenges us to conduct ourselves with reverence during this time of our earthly life since each of us has been ransomed with the precious blood of Christ.

Elain Parks writing about this reverence that Peter exhorts us to show noted:  “it is not (simply) an artificial piety or adherence to ritual, but an enduring sense of awe at God’s majesty and sovereignty”. Thus, more than just an external ritual, it is the homage we pay to God in our hearts.  We are to interiorly accept Him as our all and all.  We are called to a loving obedience and fidelity to Him in the midst of our human trials, like the present pandemic we are passing through.

The Gospel shows us the transforming power of the Risen Christ in his two disciples on their way to Emmaus.  They, who could not bear to see their unknown companion proceed further because of fear, could not contain themselves with joy when they discovered who he was at the breaking of bread.  Their contact with Him dissipated their prior fear that they had to go back to Jerusalem in the middle of the night.  Dearest ones, the question for each of us today is:  What has our contact with the Risen Christ done in our lives?

Is the Risen Christ’s presence in our midst still hidden from us in spite of all His efforts to reveal Himself to us?  Do we see Him in the events that are taking place now in our lives?  Are the present health crises that we are going through revealing His power to us?  Are we seeing the Risen Christ’s presence in the various sacrifices being made by our health workers on the front line, our grocery deliverers, Post office mail men and women, our police men that bear the brunt of the present disease, the truck drivers that deliver our food, other volunteers and people sacrificing themselves for our good in this present pandemic?

Finally, in our individual lives, has the presence of the Risen Christ dissipated those fears lurking in our hearts while enflaming them with God’s love and assurance?  Are we now ready now to take a leap of faith into the dark night of our hurting world like the two disciples who encountered Christ today?  The Risen Christ has conquered death and everything connected with it.  Now He wants to reign in your hearts.  Can we give him a chance?

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