Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Reflections on today's Gospel: Wednesday, April 3.

The tie-in in today's readings is sight.

Peter and John are walking towards the Temple in our First Reading, when they stop to see the man begging.  Before he heals the man, what does Peter say?  I never noticed this before.  He says, "Look at us".  He wants the man to see that Peter and John are not dressed wealthy.  They don't have a kit with medicines or a book with incantations or spells.  They have nothing, but the promise Jesus Christ gave them, "I am with you always".
Eye contact is a lost art.  Look around the next time you are on a train, in a diner, or at your family's dinner table, and you're bound to see 50% of the people there looking down towards some display screen.  Because of that, besides the art of conversation, we've lost the art of making eye contact with other persons.  A family I knew in a previous assignment always amazed me, because the dad made a point of teaching his young children (especially the boys) how to greet someone: with a firm handshake, looking the other person in the eyes, and a greeting made in a clear voice (not a mumble).  These boys are now high school and college ages, and I'm sure they've benefited from dad's lesson.
The Responsorial Psalm today hints at sight: "Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord."  Seeking the Lord; looking for God in our life.  Look at our church, beautifully decorated for Easter.  During Lent, it was empty, stark, the statues covered.  Now, it looks like there isn't a place here that doesn't have a plant or flowers on it.  The only "empty place" in Easter is the tomb that used to hold Jesus.  It's empty because Jesus stepped off the slab and out of it, because He is alive and present to all of us.  He's had a bit of a day this first Easter Sunday: from the early morning conversation with Mary Magdalene, to an appearance to Simon Peter, to an appearance to the ten (Judas was dead and Thomas was absent), and now on the road heading out of Jerusalem.  Risen from the dead, he is no longer bound by time and space.  He can be in many places at once, which he does even now, like the prayer says, "in all the Tabernacles of the world, even until the end of time."  Jesus is present everywhere; we just have to have a heart that seeks Him.

Now the Gospel.  How many times in Scripture does Jesus put Himself in the middle of two people?  James and John want (and their mother wants them) to get the seats on the right and left of Jesus.  He spends time refereeing between the sisters active Martha and contemplative Mary.  He gets crucified between two thieves, one demanding a jailbreak and the other asking to be remembered.  Now He is on the road to Emmaus, between two men.  We only know the name of one of them, Cleopas, and he has no trouble letting his anger and frustration out.  They're walking with Jesus, but they don't recognize Him; they don't see Him.  Only at the end, when He breaks the bread, do they see who was with them all the while.  What a lost opportunity.  "If only we recognized Him sooner", they must have thought.

The Church just gave us six weeks to look for Jesus Christ in our lives.  Now we have eight weeks of Easter to show Him to others.

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