• Rev. Lawrence E. Polansky

3rd Sunday of Easter

“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 66(65):1-2 — “Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of His name. O render Him glorious praise, alleluia.”

First Reading: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19 — “The Author of life you put to death, but God raised Him from the dead.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9 — “Lord, let Your face shine on us.”

Second Reading: 1 Jn 2:1-5a — “Jesus Christ is expiation not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.”

Alleluia: Lk 24:32 — Alleluia, alleluia. “Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hears burn while You speak to us.” Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Lk 24:35-48 — “Thus it was written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”

Communion Antiphon: Lk 24:35 — “The disciples recognized the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread, alleluia.”

Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez, a Latino actor, was having great difficulty finding work. He thought that it might be due to a bias against Latinos, so he decided to take on a new name as an actor. Out of respect for Bishop Fulton Sheen, a popular television figure, he chose the name Sheen and thus the origin of the name Martin Sheen. In 2010, his son, Emilio Estevez, released a film entitled “The Way,” in which Martin plays the leading role. The film tells the story of a man making a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James) ... walking the five hundred miles between the French Pyrenees and the burial place of Saint James the Apostle at the Basilica in Compostela near the Atlantic coast of Spain. For the devout, it is truly an inward journey, a pilgrimage of transcendence. Spiritual leaders often write of life as a journey, a path.

Martin Sheen speaks of his own journey of transcendence. He began to get in touch with himself when he, an alcoholic, began the filming of “Apocalypse Now.” In the movie, “The Way,” Sheen relates the following:

“The pilgrimage is a physical journey to begin with. It invites you to leave your comfort zone. You have to endure some uncomfortable situations. Then something else begins to happen, which is far more important and far more the reality of pilgrimage. And that is the transcendence, the inner journey. That is where we are forced to listen to our own foot beat and heartbeat, the inner voice, and we become attentive to who we really are.

As we begin to shed the material stuff that we’ve been carrying ... our guilt and our false judgments, our resentments ... and we begin to release people from the dungeon of our hearts, we begin to forgive people and to forgive ourselves. The real pilgrimage is the inward journey. We come to our true selves. Pilgrims say that you cannot ask anyone to carry your bag and no one can walk in your shoes. You have to do that yourself. Yet at the same time, you cannot walk that path alone. You cannot do it without community. God didn’t make us to walk alone. We need friends along the way.”

One such for Sheen was a man named Terrence Malick, an American film maker, screenwriter, and director, who also became a great anchor in his life. Martin goes on,

“The last book he gave me to read was “The Brothers Karamazov” and it transformed my spirit. When I finished reading it, I put it down and literally got up and walked to Saint Joseph Church [the English speaking parish in Paris]. It was May Day and I banged on the door and this Irish Passionist priest opened the door and said, ‘What’s going on?’ I told him, ‘I have been away from the Church for a long time and I’d like to go to Confession.’”

Martin says that the focus of life journey transcendence lines up with the three (3) most important steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are to make a fearless inventory (which for us means the examination of conscience), tell one person (confession) and make amends (penance and restitution).

There are two themes in today’s readings: repentance and bearing witness to the risen Christ. In order to bear a more authentic witness to Christ in our lives, we must first repent ... in other words we need to rethink the way we are living and make changes if necessary. Rethink it ... how do we celebrate our relationship with God ... our awareness of the Holy? Do we take time to pray, to keep God in focus, to thank God and to praise God for the opportunities presented to us daily? Rethink relationships with others ... with family ... with friends ... with co-workers ... with those with whom we disagree ... with the poor and the oppressed. Rethink your budgeting of time and resources ... do we give quality time to our spouses, our children, ... our parents? Do we contribute to the common good? Rethink the way in which we exercise faithful citizenship.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations ...You are witnesses of these things.” Peter and Paul both repented and bore witness to Christ in their lives leading them to Rome, the center of the known world. And John said, “The way we may be sure that we know Him is to keep His commandments.” Thus, we bear witness to the risen Christ in our lives when we love God above all and love our neighbor as ourselves ... in other words, when we live the two greatest commandments given to us by Jesus Christ. They are not simply suggestions or a bit of advice ... it won’t do to just pay lip service to them. This challenge of Jesus summarizes the law and the prophets ... the entire Old Testament ... fulfilled in our risen Lord, Jesus Christ and the New Testament. The Dismissal Rite challenges us when the Priest says: “The Mass is ended. Go in Peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” Amen! So be it! Alleluia!

Works Cited:

The Way. Emilio Estevez. Filmax; Elixir Films, 2010.

Sheen, Martin and Estevez, Emilio. Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son. Simon & Schuster, 2012.

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