April 19 2017
WEDNESDAY, Easter, week one
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The Responsorial Psalm tells us the path to joy: “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord” (Psalm 105). Those who seek will find; and what they find will give them the fullness of joy.
In Acts 3: 1-10 the lame man found something he did not seek. Instead of money he received healing. And his cure brought others to find something they were not seeking.
There is a three-step pattern in the Apostles’ preaching of the Good News. First, there is an event that shocks— like the cure of the lame man or the enthusiasm of Pentecost. The event is something that raises a question (Acts 2: 1-13; 3: 9-11; 4:7). This is called pre-evangelization. It prepares people to listen. It makes those who were not seeking want to hear an answer.
This is the work of the prophets. It doesn’t take miracles; the lifestyle of Christians should be different enough, shocking enough, to raise questions that cannot be answered without the preaching of the Gospel. This is what prepares people to listen to the Good News.
In Luke 24: 13-35 the event that shocks is the apparent defeat of Jesus. In answer to the disciples’ puzzlement Jesus passes to the second step — evangelization — which is the proclamation and explanation of the Good News in answer to the question raised. “He interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures.” As he did so, their “hearts were burning within them” (and see Acts 2: 14-40; 3: 12-26; 4:8-12).
The process is not complete until it is celebrated, which is normally in Eucharist. “He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread” (and Acts 2: 41-42; 4: 21 to 5:32) It is not enough just to hear and receive the message of the Gospel; we have to respond to it. We have to express our faith and our joy in celebration. “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.” When we find what we seek we have to celebrate it. Otherwise we will not really assimilate and appreciate it. In this we pass from prophets to priests.
But the starting point is seeking. And what makes people seek is pre-evangelization: something that raises a question that can only be answered by the news of Jesus Christ. The function of the prophets is to raise that question by the way they live and act. The prophets challenge, but their challenge leads to joy. “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.”
Take Initiative: Be a prophet. Live in a way that cannot be explained except through the principles and values taught (and lived out) by Jesus Christ.