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The Path of Life

Fr. Ed Nowak, CSP
Fr. Ed Nowak, CSP
April 21, 2023

Our responsorial psalm for the third Sunday of Easter proclaims, “Lord, you will show us the path of life.” In the gospel story for this weekend, the two disciples were walking along the road to Emmaus. Their life’s path had taken a sudden and devastating turn because Jesus, in whom they had put all their hope, had been crucified. On top that, his body was missing. They had probably spent the past three days in Jerusalem with the other disciples dealing with their grief and wondering where to go and what to do next. Then Jesus comes along and, without their knowing who was talking to them, gives them direction. Jesus explains that the path of life treads through self-sacrifice, suffering and death. A life free of difficulties is not what following Jesus to resurrected life entails. Hardship, difficulty, and pain are most likely if we love as Jesus loves.  

How do we know the path that God desires for each of us? For the disciples on the road to Emmaus, their path was made known by Jesus himself as he explained the scriptures to them. God’s Word in our sacred scriptures is also shared with us. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our hearts will burn with insights the scriptures give to us regarding God’s desire for our path of life. The scriptures tell us of God’s immense, unconditional love and forgiveness for each of us. It is a love so great that Jesus willingly suffered and died so that we might know that the path of redemptive suffering that leads to life. It is this path we are called to follow.  

In my ministry as vocation director, I came across a wonderful definition of a vocation. A vocation is when your heart’s greatest desire meets the world’s greatest need. In other words, God calls us to do something that we will be passionate about, something that will resonate with our hearts. That is certainly a key factor in discerning God’s path of life for us. It is something that we will enjoy doing even though it will entail challenges and making sacrifices.

God calls us to walk the path of life daily. That means not only discerning our vocation on a large scale but also discerning how God is calling us to relate to the world around us on a daily basis. God shows us the path of life through our daily life of prayer, the daily reading of scriptures and our daily relationships with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and members of our faith community. As we walk the path of life that God shows us, we are guided and supported by our community of faith. 

The disciples came to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. When we authentically gather each week for our celebration of the Word and Eucharist, may we be open to being transformed, so that we are better able to recognize Jesus in each other. As we pray together, may our hearts be open to God’s desires for us to know and live passionately His love, forgiveness, and guidance as we follow the path of life.