Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


Homily of the 3rd Sunday of Easter
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
May 4th, 2014
Year A

During the course of the academic year the NSA offers two great retreat opportunities to get away from campus and do some praying, reflecting and of course, a little playing as well. When on retreat, I pair up the participants – 2 by 2, preferably people who don’t know each other well. We read this gospel – the Road to Emmaus – and then I explain to them the exercise: the idea is that you go on your own “Road to Emmaus” and you talk to each other about your family, your course of study, and your walk with God – keeping in mind that “where two or 3 three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst” (Mt 18:20). The idea is that just like the disciples in the gospel, they do not face their perils alone. Their walk of faith is not one of isolation. There is a need for the support of each other and that usually helps build each other up in faith, so that Christ truly walks with us – by our side the whole time, teaching us, guiding us, and nourishing us. 

This is partly why this is one of my favorite gospel passages. St. Luke portrays their humanness. They weren’t just discussing the events that took place in Jerusalem, they were talking about the impact Jesus had on them in the three years of His mission. “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” Their conversation with Jesus paints a good picture of the disillusionment they feel after the apparent failure of their leader. Cleopas’ words summarize, quite accurately, Christ’s life and mission. St. Luke shows us that they are in mourning and somewhat at an impasse in life. I think really what they are asking themselves is this: what do we do now? Think about. Why were they leaving Jerusalem? Perhaps they were going back to their former way of life. They were returning to their families that they had left to follow this “prophet” whom they thought was the messiah. They don’t know what to do.

I bet many of you – especially the seniors – feel the same way. “What do I do now?” You left home in pursuit of studies that would hopefully secure you a good job and a future. For some of you, that may be true, so you know what lies ahead. For those of you returning in the fall it may be question of what to do this summer – work, vacation, etc. And for some of you graduating, it really may be the case – what’s next for me?

I, of course, cannot answer that for you. I can’t tell what to do in life. I can make suggestions and for some I will suggest religious life. Ultimately you have to discover this for yourself, you have to find these answers. In the midst of that internal struggle one thing remains constant – and this, I think is part of the message of the gospel we hear today. St. Luke tells us that as Jesus spoke to them, He revealed to them all that was written about Himself in the Scriptures. And the disciples said to each other: “were not our hearts burning within us as he spoke to us on the way.” The journey ends with them realizing that Jesus had deeply stirred their hearts. His presence and His words restore their spirits and gave them new and lasting hope. And in that discovery, when they realized it was Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem. They went back to the Apostles. They discovered their mission in and through the presence of Christ in their journey.

This must be a priority for each of us. Through our faith-filled relationships the reading of Scripture, getting a better understanding of it through the Church’s teachings, and in the Holy Eucharist Christ maintains His presence in our own lives. Though we may often have very difficult life questions – like: what do I do now? – if we keep the presence of God, if we absorb His Word and receive Him in Holy Communion, if we help each other and encourage each other in faith, we will never lose sight of Him and He will direct us in the course of life events. For the Road to Emmaus story is really symbolic of our own walk with the Lord. We may sometimes have very complex life questions. Life itself sometimes gets messy because of our sins and brings great confusion to mind and heart. Yet, if we walk with Jesus – or allow Him to walk with us – if we include Him in our journey through life, if we make the faith we profess a priority in our relationships and friendships, we will always be comforted by His presence, guided by His Word and nourished by His Body and Blood. In this sense, we must not neglect our souls because this is the road to discovering our true selves and the happiness that we all desire.



Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.

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