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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, May 4, 2014

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

May 4, 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

There's nothing like a long walk to get the blood pumping and to help clear one's head, find a new perspective or to work through an issue with one's walking partner. I remember one spring day when my sister-in-law and I covered all sorts of ground -- literally and figuratively. When the walk ended, we were so much closer in our relationship. Something about those shared miles helped us to shortcut through the banalities of "nice" conversation and get right to the heart of the matter.

Today's Gospel highlights a 7-mile walk shared between two companions who are also "conversing and debating" the distressing events of the past few days in Jerusalem and trying to make sense of it all. I can only imagine their "what ifs," "whys" and "how could this have happened?"

It's what we do when confronted with the sudden death of dreams, hopes, expectations or even persons. The travelers' despair and confusion were so profound that they could neither rejoice in the women's report of the empty tomb, nor recognize Jesus when he joined them.

I often wonder what would have happened if Jesus hadn't shown up on the road. How many times would those two downcast companions have replayed the events of Jesus' passion and death with no closure or resolution? How long would they have remained stuck in their hopelessness and bewilderment?

Fortunately, the narrative doesn't end that way. Jesus does show up -- listening to their painful stories, reminding them of the promises of the Scriptures and patiently accompanying them for as long as it took to work through their grief.

So powerful was the shared experience of those last few miles that they were able to recognize him, finally, in the blessing and breaking of the bread. It's the same kind of healing encounter that enables the psalmist to proclaim: "You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence."

We can all get stuck in the disappointments and losses of our lives. But Jesus walks that road by our side, sharing our burden of grief for as long as necessary, patiently helping us to reinterpret our situation until we are ready to recognize him in the power of his resurrection.


When have you been so consumed with grief or unfilled hopes that you couldn't get past the loss? How can you share your burden with the risen Lord and so find healing?


"What are you discussing as you walk along?" -- Luke 24:17


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