3rd Sunday of Easter A

All God’s Children

David, the “bubble boy” of Conroe, Texas, died on February 22, 1984. He was born in 1971 with a congenital ailment – the inability to resist infection. Consequently, he had to spend his life in a huge plastic bubble in his own home. Only a couple of weeks before his death was he taken out of this bubble so that surgeons could try a bone-marrow transplant that might have restored him to health. He had the operation, but complications brought about his death.

David’s case had attracted the attention of many scientists, and prompted them to seek a cure. It had also attracted the attention and sympathy of thousands across the land. They were saddened at the thought that this youngster had to grow up sealed off in a little world of his own.

But aren’t we all obliged to live more or less in a bubble of our own? The world around us can cause our spiritual infection and death if we are not careful. If we are in the world, we must nevertheless not be of the world.

Remember how our Lord prayed for the apostles, “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to guard them from the evil one” (Is. 17:15). In today’s second reading, St. Peter says we are all pilgrims, sojourning “in a strange land.”

Peter tells us, nevertheless, that we must “conduct ourselves reverently” during this sojourn, for the Father will judge each of us according to our actions. The wonderful thing about David is that although others wept for him, he did not weep for himself. He made the best of his time and talents. At David’s funeral, held in Sacred Heart Church, Conroe, his parish priest, Father Lawrence Connelly, pointed this out in his homily.

“To those who measure life by production, this life was a total and complete waste. But to those who measure life by giving and receiving, David’s life was one of the fullest I’ve ever known. David was born with a handicap, but he was one of the few people who didn’t know it, because he lived life to the fullest. David became what God meant him to be. He developed all his talents. That is the challenge to all of us.

“Certainly there is a loss, but what a tremendous gain, that he touched each of us in the heart … and because of David’s life and death, other young men and women will be free to live a normal life.”

In our own self-imposed isolation from the destructive forces in the world, we, too, must “conduct ourselves reverently,” use God’s gifts thankfully. Then we will be able to join young David in singing the words of David, the psalmist, “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights of your right hand forever.”

-Father Robert F. McNamara

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Q 314: Why didn’t Jesus identify himself right away to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35)?

Actually, he never did come right out and identify himself in the story, but was finally recognized by the two disciples. One way I like to look at this story is to see it as a description of our own faith journey.

Consider the elements of the story. Jesus takes the initiative and joins Cleopasand his companion, and engages their minds during their “lively exchange.” Grace always builds on nature — God begins with where you are on your journey, and helps you “grow.” So Jesus asks them about their concerns, and receives a “status report” on the thinking of his disciples at that moment in time.

Jesus then leads them directly to Scripture, God’s holy word, and instructs them in the proper interpretation of the Old Testament. Having fed them with His word, he then feeds them with bread that He has blessed — “with that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”

Having been fed with the Holy Word, which caused their “hearts to burn,” and then having been fed with the Bread Blessed by Jesus, their faith matured and they recognized Jesus. This is what every Catholic is called to do: to invite Jesus into their lives; be fed with his holy word in Scripture; and to recognize and receive his Real Presence in Holy Eucharist. Like the two disciples, we are then stirred to action, to tell our faith story, which gives glory to God and leads others to believe in Him.

KNOW YOUR CATECHISM! Catholics “break bread,” an expression that designates the Eucharistic assembly of the first Christians down to our own day (CCC #1329). Our liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form one act of worship which was the same Paschal meal with the Risen Jesus himself (CCC #1346-47). He IS Risen! Alleluia!

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