Third Sunday of Easter
April 26, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

Today’s Gospel tells us that we are pilgrims. The journey between Jerusalem and Emmaus is a parable of our life. Our pilgrimage is the renewal of our life in Christ. As Saint Paul says, “whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17).

Easter season is a time of renewal, a time to leave the old behind us. In this season, we are called to renew our youthfulness of spirit. Jesus is always new and never gets old, as the Letter to the Hebrews says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
(Hb 13:8).

If we walk by faith, we shall grow in youthfulness of spirit. Like the disciples of Emmaus, we need to walk the path of life with the Lord: “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them” (Lk 24:15). Jesus himself takes the initiative to walk with us.

The two disciples were sad and disillusioned because they thought Christ was dead and their hope was buried. They neither understood the Scripture nor God’s promises. Dialogue with Jesus reopened them to hope and his living presence. As we walk with Christ, our spirit is renewed. Today’s psalm says: “You will show me the path of life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever” (Ps 16:11).

Dialogue with Jesus renews the hearts of the disciples, enkindling them with the fire of the Holy Spirit: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32). The dialogue between Jesus and the disciples helps them understand the secret meaning of the Paschal Mystery.

In today’s second reading, Saint Peter says that the precious blood of Christ delivers us from whatever hampers us from reaching our destiny. He tells the Christian community: “[…] conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning” (1 Pt 1:17). To conduct ourselves with reverence means to perceive that Jesus fills everything with the gift of his presence.

Our lives are renewed through progressive sanctification. Christian life is a continuous passage from old to new. The knowledge of God renews our lives. The life of the resurrection never ages. Saint Paul says: “Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16).

The saints’ youthfulness of spirit bears witness to God’s eternal youthfulness.  For example, Saint John Paul II had a special ability to speak to the young because he was even younger in spirit than they were. The source of his freshness of spirit was his ongoing dialogue with Christ.

In the same way that the two disciples urged Jesus, we also say: “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over” (Lk 24:29). Stay with us, because we want to renew our life in you. Stay with us, because without your presence life is meaningless. Stay with us, because in this hour of history we need you more than ever. Stay with us, because you show us “the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever” (Ps 16:11).  Amen