"Stay with Us, Lord"

Third Sunday of Easter, Year A

26 April 2020

“Stay with us, for it is getting towards evening, and the day is now far spent.” Lk. 24:29

Today’s Gospel (Luke 24:13-35) tells us of a tender moment in the events after Easter. Two disciples have left Jerusalem despondent over the events of the past few days and are travelling to Emmaus. They had hoped the Jesus would lead their people as the Messiah, but now that He is dead, they have great sorrow. Jesus comes and walks with them although they do not recognize him at first. During their conversation on the road, the two men tell Jesus of their sadness of the recent events in Jerusalem. Jesus does not seem to them to know anything about these events, and the men are quite surprised. Then Jesus tells them about the Messiah who had to suffer these things first and then enter His glory. “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Did not Christ have to suffer these things before entering into his glory.” Lk. 24:25. He then opens their eyes to the scriptures about the sufferings of the Messiah. These prophecies are what St. Peter alludes to in today’s first two readings (Acts 2:14, 22-33 and I Peter 1:17-21): “…because thou wilt not abandon my soul to hell, neither wilt thou let thy Holy One undergo decay.” Acts 2:27 & Ps. 15:8. “You know that you were redeemed from the vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, not with perishable things, with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” I Pt. 1:18 (Cf. Is. 40:6-8) Jesus tells them of the many prophecies which refer to Him: “They shall look upon him whom they have pierced.” Zach. 12:10 “They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones.” Ps. 21:17) The two travellers do not recognize Jesus, but as they say later, “Was not our heart burning within us while he was speaking on the road and explaining to us the Scriptures.” Lk. 24:32

“Stay with us Lord” Lk. 24:29

This is the cry of a soul who has found God and never wants to be separated from Him again. Like the two disciples on the way Emmaus, we need to search for the Lord. Our whole life is a continuous journey towards Him, and we are often sad, like the two disciples, because we have not found him in our lives. We do not understand the mysterious ways of God, and how He acts on us in our everyday lives. At times, He even seems to have abandoned us. But He is always close and maybe even walking with us, but we do not recognize Him. Sometimes God opens our minds, and we realize that He is close to us— Was not our heart burning within us…” God who is all good and loving knows how to reveal Himself to us His children! Oftentimes, it is an obscure manner like an illness, a failure, a disappointment, a loss etc. When we realize the truth that God is in our lives, even amidst suffering, then we have made the same discovery as the two disciples and we cry out, “Stay with us After Jesus stays with them and they reclined at table, Jesus “took the bread and blessed and broke and began handling it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.” Lk. 24:30-1 What a wonderful grace to recognize Jesus with the breaking of the bread! The very same Jesus touches our hearts also in every Holy Communion. Our faith should tell us that Jesus is always with us when we are in the state of sanctifying grace where He dwells within our souls. “God is always with us even when we do not feel Him, even when we do not notice His presence. God is there, God remains with us; it is for us to remain with Him. If at certain moments He permits Himself to be recognized by our soul, He does so just to invite us to dwell with Him in His intimacy. Let us, therefore, beg Him ardently: teach us, O Lord, to stay with You, to live with You.” Fr. Gabriel, OCD., Divine Intimacy, p. 423

God has made us for Himself

We cannot live without God for He has made us for Himself, and we cannot be happy without Him. The Easter liturgy is filled with examples with this longing for God. This is why St. Paul tells us, “If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.” Col. 3:1 The more we think about the Resurrection of Christ, the more our soul feels the need for God and for heavenly things. Just as physical hunger is an indication that a person is alive, so also is the spiritual hunger in a soul is an indication that the soul is alive to God’s grace. The soul that experiences no hunger for God is dead or at least it is lukewarm as it is insensible to God. “The Paschal Alleluia (Praise Yahweh/ God) is a cry of triumph at Christ’s Resurrection, but at the same time it is an urgent invitation for us to rise also. Like the sound of reveille, it calls us to the battles of the spirit, and invites us to rouse and renew ourselves, to participate even more profoundly in Christ’s Resurrection….” (Divine Intimacy, p. 432)

Rejoice, O my soul

Rejoice, O my soul… and since the Lord finds His delights in you, may all things on earth not suffice to make you cease to delight in Him and rejoice in the greatness of your God…But blessed may You be forever, O Lord! For though I have forsaken You, You have not so completely forsaken me as not to raise me up again by continually giving me Your hand…Remember my great misery, O Lord, and look upon my weakness, since you know all things.” (St. Teresa of Avila, Life, 6)

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