Immersed in Christ: April 15, 2020
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 105) gives us the key to joy: “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.” It is as simple as that.
The man in Acts 3: 1-10 had been “crippled from birth.” He wasn’t particularly happy with it, but he was resigned. He wasn’t even seeking a cure: just alms.
If we are honest, we have to admit many Christians are “crippled from birth” in the way they live their religion. It isn’t that they are committing great sins (that they recognize, at least). It is just that they seem to be going nowhere. Or barely limping along. And they don’t enjoy the journey. It’s okay; it’s just not exciting. They do what they “have to do,” and accept with resignation that this is what religion is.
Except for the younger ones. They just stop going to church because they “get nothing out of it.”
Everything changed for the lame man when he met Jesus — not Jesus in his earthly life, but the risen Jesus. Peter said to him, “Look at us.” There was something about Peter and John that was different. He didn’t know what it was, but it was enough that “he paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.”
If we are witnesses to the risen Christ by a lifestyle so different it cannot be explained except by his life within us, people will begin to “pay attention” to the phenomenon of the community that believes. They will begin to analyze the example of the believers they live and work with. If they come to Mass, it will be with a different attitude, “expecting to receive something.” They will listen to the readings with a questioning mind. Why? Because they will see that those who are “witnesses” have something they want.
The turned-off and tepid can be turned on and fired up. Those who experience “religion” as an unexciting system of doctrines, rules and observances will discover the “spirituality” of the life of grace: dynamic, exciting, personal interaction with God as Father, Son and Spirit. Life “in the grace lane” is living on the level of God. It is an ongoing mystical experience. The key is in what we are looking for: “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.” Do we want to encounter the living Jesus? Do we interact with him in everything we do?
Luke 24: 13-35 parallels the Mass. Jesus’ questions, like the Introductory Rites, focus us on what the Good News is supposed to be. Then, as in the Liturgy of the Word, he “interpreted the Scriptures” to them. But the real encounter came in the “breaking of the bread,” the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
If, during the Presentation of Gifts we consciously reaffirm our Baptism, send ourselves up intentionally under the sign of bread to be placed on the altar, and ask intensely for ongoing transformation — “Father, bring the image of your Son to perfection within us” — our “eyes will be opened.” We will realize “our hearts were burning within us” during the Scripture readings and that he “was made known to us in the breaking of the bread.” But only those who look will find: “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.”
Initiative: Where you don’t find meaning, put meaning by interacting with Jesus.