26 April 2020
Acts 2:14, 22-33
1 Pt 1:17-21
“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice and proclaimed . . . . “
Is this the same man who denied Jesus three times? Is this the same man whose incomprehension provoked Jesus to say, “Get behind me satan?” Is this the Peter, who a few days earlier swore he did not know this Jesus of Nazareth and is now proclaiming that He is risen from the dead? Peter, whose nerve failed him at the first hint of threat, is now professing Jesus as the one of whom David spoke. Fearful of being known as one of His disciples while huddled around a fire in the courtyard during Jesus' trial, Peter is now preaching what, to many ears, was blasphemy--a capital offense at the time . He was telling all who could hear that Jesus had risen from the dead. Talk about a makeover!
What did Peter look like as he made these bold and dangerous statements?
It is likely he did not resemble the cowering man in the high priest’s courtyard who said, “I do not know Him.” Something fundamental had changed. The change was not subtle. Peter was taking an enormous risk when he spoke. Of course this was after Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit it is obvious that Peter now understood that which he had failed to comprehend earlier.
Luke’s narrative of the encounter on the road to Emmaus, with its expertly set scene, is ripe for contemplation. One can sense the despondency of the two men. Their weariness is palpable. There are hints of disbelief and fear as they make their way toward Emmaus. Are they walking away from Jerusalem because their hopes have been destroyed? Are they retreating because Jesus was not the Messiah of their dreams? What were they “conversing and debating” about? Conversing is a neutral word but debating suggests disagreement and attempts by each to change the other’s mind. Who was winning?
They stopped talking when Jesus appeared. They were shocked that their unrecognized companion was not aware of the events that had taken place in Jerusalem. Jesus’ impatience with them is palpable. It is approximately seven and one-half miles (or twelve and one-half kilometers) from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Jesus began with Moses and all the prophets and explained “what referred to him in all the Scriptures." The conversation must have been a long one.
Like the entire Jewish nation the two disciples had had hopes for the Messiah. Many of their hopes and the hopes of the entire nation were attached to the politics of the day; driven by Israel's desire to be free of the yoke of Roman domination. They had desires for the one of whom David spoke to be a military leader, a super-politician, and a social reformer all at once. Today, in addition the skills of a five-star general and a unifying politician, we want the one of whom David spoke to have a sufficiently relaxed moral compass that endorses any action that feels good no matter the fundamental wrongness of the act.
Jesus fulfilled none of Israel's expectations. Jesus will fulfill none of those expectations today. Given that he seemed to be apolitical it is ironic how often Jesus’ message is politicized and twisted to promote a particular agenda on both the left, the right, and the center. "You cannot call yourself a Christian if you do not . . . . . . (fill in blank with pet agenda)." The only thing one can say about this statement is that it is breathtakingly manipulative and on par with a comment during the last presidential campaign: "You cannot be a democratic candidate if you don't support abortion."
Jesus was not the Messiah Israel wanted. He was the Messiah Israel needed. Jesus is not the Christ we want Him to be. He is not the Messiah we try to force Him to be in our attempts to remake God in our own image. He is the Christ we need, if we only allow him to be that.
Jesus’ two companions on the road to Emmaus were consoled after the fact. “Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” They immediately began the seven and one-half mile walk back to Jerusalem to share the news. It must have been a difficult trip in the dark and cold of the desert night.
When we pray we are on the road to Emmaus. In prayer we are forced to recognize the One who joins us along the way. We continually meet Him on the road though we may not recognize Him at first. We encounter Him in a particular and intimate manner every time we partake of the Eucharistic Feast.
Recall the dialog just before communion as the Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord are elevated above the altar.
"Behold the Lamb of God,
Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessed are those who are called
to the supper of the Lamb."
And attend to the response.
"Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed."
Stay with both those thoughts
for the rest of today.
He is Risen.
He is truly Risen.
Glorious day in Boston today. Went over to campus with camera. Spent about two hours in and around St. Mar's Hall .
Behind the altar at St. Mary's Hall (Jesuit Residence). The stained glass is magnificent.
A better depiction of the warm purples and reds.
The main altar.
Standing at the main altar looking toward the back.
The door from the chapel to the residence. Love the wrought iron grating between the glass panes.
the organ loft.
The main entrance. BC's colors are maroon and gold. Tulips approximating that are planted annually.
Reflecting in a window.
Different settings of the same basic scene.
Blossoms framing the tulips.
Loved this effect. So, I posted another.
+ Fr. Jack, SJ, MD