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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, May 8, 2011

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

May 8, Third Sunday of Easter

Cycle A Readings:

1) Acts 2:14, 22-33

Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11

2) 1 Peter 1:17-21

Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

It is fascinating to hear how a person who has grown to adulthood with no Christian teaching or background comes to know and embrace Jesus. That's why I was interviewing 24-year-old Patrick: to tell, in our diocesan paper, his story of coming to faith.

As he prepared for baptism, Patrick explained that although he was unchurched, he'd always had a belief "in a higher power," but with "no specifics." But as he heard Scripture and listened to homilies and teaching at church, he said, he began to recognize a belief in Christ that he suspects was always inside him.

While grappling with his desire for a tangible sense of Jesus, he told me, he experienced what his pastor described as an "ah-ha" moment.

During a group prayer session, everyone joined hands. Patrick held hands with his fiancee, Jen, on one side, but he was at the end of a row and empty-handed on the other side. "I knew it was weird at the time, but I was thinking, what if I could actually feel Jesus grasp my hand?" he recalled.

"Of course, it didn't happen. But at the end of the prayer, I felt Jen squeeze my hand." He grinned sheepishly at the thought, pointing at his hand to demonstrate, "Then I realized: Oh! I did feel it. It was through Jen."

Patrick's ah-ha moment was an Emmaus moment, echoing the experience of Jesus' disciples, related in this week's Gospel, when they met him on the road after his resurrection. The master, not so recognizable in his resurrected state, revealed himself to them in a human connection so they could understand.

The two disciples described that same "what if" sense that Patrick experienced when they said their hearts were burning. Their desire to understand was palpable and Jesus responded by dispelling their doubt.

Even when we've had a close relationship with him, our belief in Jesus can sometimes hide under our daily human experiences. But if we follow the burning sensation -- the desire -- in our hearts and seek him where we are, Jesus promises to reveal himself and join us on our own road.


What in your daily life tends to obscure your understanding of Christ's life? When was the most recent time that you felt a "tangible" presence of the resurrected Jesus?


"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?'" (Luke 24: 32)


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