May 6, 2011

3rd Sunday of Easter

My Idea of God

In writing his Gospel, Luke makes it very clear that Jerusalem is the place where God's glory would be revealed in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Luke places the Transfiguration near the end of Jesus' ministry in Galilee. There, Luke introduces the "exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem." (9:31)

Then Luke begins the second phase of Jesus' public ministry with these words, which marks the turning point in his narrative of Jesus, "When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem." (9:51)

The next ten chapters cover Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, during which the destination is mentioned no fewer than seven times [1].

So, it is almost impossible for the two disciples, as well as the other followers of Jesus, to forget what Jesus has told them about his passion, death and resurrection.

But, doesn't it happen to us all. In times of sorrows, sufferings, disappointments, so often we forget God's loving presence and care for us. Our eyes can be "prevented from recognizing him" because we allow those things to control us.

The two disciples do not recognize the Risen Christ because He did not meet their expectations. They confess, "We we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel." And when reality does not meet their expectations, they could not believe in all those who have said otherwise.

And so, they give up and leave Jerusalem, the place where Jesus has led them so they could witness the power of God.

But God never leaves us to suffer alone, whether we recognize Him or not.

The Risen Christ continues to be with us as our companion on our journey, both directly and in our brothers and sisters. Note how the two disciples have each other both in times of sorrows before and times of jubilation after they have recognized Jesus.

The Risen Christ is present to us in the Scriptures. May our hearts burn within us when He speaks to us and opens the Scriptures to us.

And the Risen Christ is with us in His own body and blood in the Eucharist. Everyday, he takes bread, says the blessing, breaks it, and gives it to us. May our eyes be opened to recognize Him.

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson. The Gospel of Luke, Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 164.

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