Until I can get his information connected to the blog, I wish to give credit to my friend Jason Lewis who is partnering with me in this spiritual journey and is presenting a perspective from the Roman Catholics while my perspective is shaped by the protestant branch of Christianity.
Today’s Scriptures: Roman Catholic LectionaryFirst Reading: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
Second Reading: 1 Jn 2:1-5a
Gospel: Lk 24:35-48
Where does God fit in our times of change – our grieving process?
Today’s Reflection:The context of today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles is Peter and John’s miraculous cure of the crippled man when they went up to the temple for prayer and the crowd is attracted. These are the people to whom he speaks. Note how he appeals to their Jewish heritage, proclaiming Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises. Note, too, the names given to Jesus: “servant,” “Holy and Righteous One,” “author of life,” the Christ (Messiah). The second reading from the First Letter of John gives us more names for Jesus. Jesus is referred to as “God’s advocate.” The text in the second reading also stresses the importance of keeping God’s commandments as the way not only to knowledge of Him, but to love.
Today’s Psalm (4) is a confident prayer that asks for God’s blessing, one that could easily have been prayed by the crippled man, one that no doubt was prayed by the apostles as well, knowing that it is through the same Jesus, through the power of Jesus, that healing is accomplished – not through their own. The psalmist declares that we all need to be healed through the saving power of God. As the psalm says, “Lord, let your face shine on us” we too, need to let the face of the Lord shine on our daily lives.
The Gospel story of the Emmaus journey is one of significant importance to us during the Easter season. The two disciples referred to in the first line of today’s Gospel reading are the two who met the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus. In today’s text, they have returned to Jerusalem and are with the other disciples, when the risen Christ is suddenly in their midst. What a contrast to his peace is their fear and doubt, which soon gave way to joy. As on the way to Emmaus, the Lord interprets the scriptures (the law of Moses, the prophets and Psalms in particular) as pertaining to him and fulfilled by him. They are now witnesses. Beginning in Jerusalem, they must proclaim his Good News to all the nations. Luke picks up this story in his second volume, the Acts of the Apostles.
The Emmaus story is one of grief turned to joy. Joy is the overriding theme in the scriptures today, but the two disciples had to go through the pain in order to get to the joy. This is a clear example of the Paschal Mystery that we celebrate every time the People of God gather to celebrate God’s Word and the Eucharist at every Sunday Mass. The Paschal Mystery is the life, death and glorious resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The Paschal Mystery is related to us in our everyday lives. As the disciples are on the road to Emmaus (before they even see the Risen Christ) they pondering, “all that they have seen and heard in the last several days” regarding the event that had taken place with Jesus. It isn’t until he breaks bread with them that they recognize him, for “they recognized him in the breaking of the bread.”
For those of you who are in any sort of grieving process right now – whether it be the death of a loved one, friend, the loss of finances or your job, or even a relationship – find someone close to you and break bread with them. Allow the healing presence of Jesus into your lives and recognize Christ “in the breaking of the bread.”
Let us remember your presence and comfort, even in times of great distress.