2014-05-04, 3rd Easter A, The Storybook

Homily 05-04-14
Third Sunday of Easter A
Acts 2:14, 22-33; Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-11; 1 Pt 1:17-21; Lk 24:13-35

(Scriptures included after homily)

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Once

nce upon a time, in a far-away place, on a dusty old path, three persons were conversing among themselves about a Dream that they all had in common.

As the Father patted the stardust from His pant legs, the Son agreed  that it would truly be “a Paradise.”  And the Spirit, always the realist, reminded them all of the cost.  But weighing the pros and the cons, the pitfalls and the perks, they decided to take that dream, and make it a reality.

And evening came and morning followed . . .
and God saw how good it was.”  Gn 1

When we stepped into Church this morning, actually every time we step into Church, do we fully understand that we are stepping into a Storybook?  Except, this is no ordinary Storybook because in this Story, we are not only observers and listeners, we are the very characters in the Story itself!  And the Story would not be the same without every one of us here today: from the crying baby to the overworked sleeper in the back row, from the fidgety child to the zealous family in the front.  Each and every one of us is a critically important part of this Story.

You see, it’s the Story of Life!

And the more we can immerse ourselves into knowing this Story, into seeing the big picture, the closer we’ll get to living the Dream: that three, incredibly-wise Persons, our God, had envisioned for us from the very beginning of time.

So, by now, we might all be wondering, “What Story?”  Well, let’s just take a few steps back to see what happened:  As we walked through those front doors, if our eyes were opened to our surroundings, we were greeted by a friendly volunteer who welcomed us here.  That was Jesus!

And coming into Church, we may have dipped our fingers into the holy water of the Baptismal font, reminding us of the cleansing waters of our own Baptisms, and our introduction to the Holy Spirit.  We also passed by the holy Anointing Oils in the Ambry on our right, and the Story of God’s Creation in the cry room windows on our left.

And before that holy water even had a chance to evaporate from our foreheads, we began preparing ourselves to BE in the presence of God by asking for His mercy, in our Penitential Rite.

Another Chapter completed, now we were ready to say “Hi” to God: “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks,” for you are the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, our God!

road-to-emmausAnd as we took our seats again, we opened up a new Chapter.  Traveling back thousands of years into the past, we learn about our roots through the Scriptures, just as the disciples did on that ‘Road to Emmaus,’ from the very mouth of Jesus Himself.  We learn that the entire Story all goes back to that “stardust path” and a “dream of paradise.”  A dream that could ONLY be possible because of the unfathomable Love of God and the Sacrifice of Jesus – for US.

But, you know what, brothers and sisters in Christ;   Sometimes even we can be a little “slow of heart” to see that big picture.  So God gave us story, after story, after story, to see it in a hundred different ways.  It’s all around us: from God’s promise to Abraham, and the sacrifice of his son, (Abraham Windows) to the miracles He worked through Moses, to save and redeem Israel from slavery and death (Moses Windows). 

QueenshipMaryFrom the covenant that God made with David, and David’s own stories of rejection and redemption,to the Prophesies of Isaiah, and all the Prophets, that foretold and prefigured the role of Jesus in the “great dream” of what’s in store for our future (Jesus Windows).

We remember the love of His Mother, Mary, and the dedication of His father, Joseph.  And we’re reminded of the story of His passion in the Stations of the Cross, His entombment, and His Easter resurrection.

And then we hear the stories of Peter and Paul in the early Church (Church Windows).  And if we know anything about the history of our Church, we know that the road was more like a “minefield” than a “star-path.”  You see, Jesus never told us that our “sojourn” would be easy, that it would be any easier than His.  But He did tell us that it will be a lot easier with Him, than without.

You see, the Story is all around us, and it all points back to one place, this Altar.  And that Story can only get to this Altar through us!  Now, WE are the Story!  Our survival of failures and losses, our experiences of success and those unexplainable miracles we sometimes see, are all simply reminders that Jesus IS a part of these lives.

And then we might just ask ourselves that same question as we live this Truth with every passing day:

Are not our hearts burning within us,

You see, just as with the disciples in Emmaus two-thousand years ago, Jesus is made known to us, through the breaking of the bread, on this very Altar.  And now, He is a part of our Story.  And that Story can only continue if we share Him with the world.

Jesus is Alive.  And He’s Living within US!
And We ARE the very Best Storybook ever written!

 jmp 05-04-14
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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 05-04-14
Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

First Reading:  Acts 2:14, 22-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words. You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.  This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it.

For David says of him: “I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”

“My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day.  But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption.  God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R Lord, you will show us the path of life.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot.
R
I bless the LORD who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R
You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
R

Second Reading:1 Pt 1:17-21

Beloved: if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.

He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Gospel:  Lk 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”  They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.  But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.  Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.

As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”  So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”  Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

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