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Homily of Bishop Crean – 3rd Sunday of Easter – 23rd April 2023

3rd Sunday of Easter A

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

23rd April 2023

“Did not our hearts burn within us?”

My friends,

One of the most lucrative professions in many walks of life is that of the “Motivational Speaker” – this is the person that companies engage to boost the motivation of their staff – they do so for various reasons the primary one usually being / hoping for an increase in productivity. However, it is, to be fair, more than just productivity. It is well acknowledged that a happy, cohesive and well-motivated group of people will invest more of their energy and commitment when they are consulted, respected and valued.

For this reason companies, organisations, sports clubs invest heavily in the services of people with a capacity for leadership and motivation. They are usually animated and passionate about their capacity to inject fresh ideas and goals into people’s minds and hearts to release the dormant gifts they have. It’s common we know to have retired politicians or managers go on the “speaking circuit” to share their wisdom and inspiration and be richly rewarded for doing so.

On this 3rd Sunday of Easter our Readings are rich in the accounts of the early Church and its dynamism, generated by news of the Resurrection of Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles give us a sense of people trying to come to terms with its meaning for them in life. This letter of Peter sought to explain it to his hearers by declaring that God raised Jesus from the dead so that we might have faith and hope in him. Both are trying to put words on it.

Then you have the Gospel reading from Luke of the disciples on the road to Emmaus which tells the story of the disciples coming away from Jerusalem downcast and dejected at what had happened to Jesus, the source of their aspiration and hope. The Gospel concludes with the sentence “They recognised him at the breaking of bread”.

This Gospel passage is not so much about a specific event as a wonderful account of how we as believers can experience going from dejection even despair through walking with the Risen Jesus in life come to recognise him as our divine companion and friend on life’s journey.

The steps along the way are, in our dejection or sadness, to allow Jesus to walk with us – even in a sense talk to us and gradually like the two disciples “our hearts will burn within us”.

In this deeper experience of the Lord’s presence with us, within us and among us we will yearn to celebrate the Eucharist, i.e. Holy Mass, through which we grow in deeper union with him and love in his image. This way, this path, this style of loving, this style of living is the treasure of great price.

It perpetually generates a spirit hope in us. It is deeper than the motivational speaker who seeks to put ‘jizz’ in the mind of the hearer which in time fades and fizzles out again.

To choose and learn to walk with Jesus in the manner of the disciples is to open our whole selves mind and heart to be renewed and transformed every day through an act of faith in him. My Lord and my God.

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