Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Learning to walk..

As I was meditating on the first reading this morning something jumped out at me.  In the reading, you see Peter and John doing something that reminds us of Jesus.  They approach a man crippled from birth who is sitting begging at the temple.   Peter and John aren't rich.   They don't have money to give him.   They don't have food or clothing.  All they have to offer is the power of Christ.  So they do, and the man is healed.  Now think about it for a minute though... This man has been crippled his entire life.  He's never walked. Does he even know how?  Then we see him leap up, walk around, and even proceed to leap with joy inside the temple proclaiming the power of God.   That's because he wasn't just changed on the outside.   God doesn't just heal our bodies, though He can do just that, He heals our minds.   He equips us with all the knowledge we need through His Holy Spirit to do what we need to do.  This man who used to sit at the gates has been transformed into the man who leaps with joy proclaiming the mercy of God.

That then contrasts with the Gospel reading.  Probably one of the most famous readings out there in all Christian circles, the road to Emmaus.  Here we have two men who knew Jesus well.  So well that it says they eventually recognized Him in the breaking of the bread.   That means they were either at the last supper or that Jesus had at least dined with them in a special way many times in the past.   Yet, even though they had spent intimate time with the Savior, here they are walking away from everything that they had learned.  They have given up on Him and are heading back to their normal everyday lives.   They aren't leaping with joy.  they are going back to sit and beg at the entrance with a crippled body and mind as it were.

Saint Augustine put it this way:

They were so disturbed when they saw him hanging on the cross that they forgot his teaching, did not look for his resurrection, and failed to keep his promises in mind.  Sermon 235.1

Then Jesus proceeds to equip them again.   He opens the scriptures to them and tells them everything that points to Him out of them.  He then proceeds to dine with them and that's when their eyes are opened.  That's when they are healed.  Then just like the crippled man at the gate they immediately jump up and run throughout the night back to tell everyone the good news.   This wasn't like you or I walking down a dark alley in a big city.  This was dangerous!   Not only were their bandits, brigands, and thieves.. but there were lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  They risked everything to bring the message back to the Apostles.  They were changed by their encounter.

That's our challenge today, isn't it?  Jesus on the road to Emmaus showed us the Mass.   He broke open the Word as we do at the Liturgy of the Word.    He broke the bread as we do at the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  The question is... are we recognizing Him in the breaking of the bread?   Then when we do, are we running out into the dangers of the world to share that with others?   Are we leaping with joy?   Or still walking as if we are weak of ankle and foot?   He has given us everything we need to know Him.  He gave us the Church.   He sent the Holy Spirit to be her guide.   He gave us the 7 Sacraments to encounter Him and be overflowed with His grace.   The Church guided by the Spirit wrote and formed our Scriptures that we might be able to read and learn from them.  Are we walking blindly away from the center of the world?  Or are we running towards Him?  Easter is a constant reminder of that...   We must journey towards our own cross, our own self-giving, sacrificial love... because on the other side is our reward should we remain firm and run the race.  Resurrection.   But first, we gotta let God Himself teach us how to walk.

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"He must increase, I must decrease."

A reflection on the readings for Wednesday of the Octave of Easter: April 19, 2017