April 22, 2014

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Today’s Readings: April 23, 2014
Acts 3:1-10
Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9
Luke 24:13-35
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042314.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/14_04_23.mp3

Don't give up on God's plan

The journey on the road to Emmaus in the Gospel reading today, was a trip made too soon. The two people who were heading to Emmaus had been disciples of Jesus. They had followed him around, probably for quite awhile, to learn from him. Nevertheless, they still lacked understanding. They thought of him only as a great rabbi, a prophet. They had hoped he would deliver Israel from the Romans. Like Thomas, they couldn't believe that Jesus had really been resurrected from the dead.

There's a big difference, though, between Thomas and these two. Thomas stayed in Jerusalem to wait for proof that Jesus was alive; these two left town. They gave up on Jesus a little too soon.

How often do we quit when things don't seem to be working right, when all seems hopeless, or when a good plan turns into disaster? There's an old clich̩ that claims, "It's always darkest before the dawn." I think we should change that to: "It only seems dark, but the dawn has already begun!" The Son has already started to shine Рbut our eyes can't see his light yet.

When we feel like quitting – especially when that feeling is at its strongest – this is precisely when the resurrection light of Christ is about to make a difference that we can see! We are blind to what's just around the corner. One or two steps more, just a little farther, and we walk into the victory that Jesus has been preparing for us.

Gratefully, when we give up on Jesus and quit too soon, Jesus does not give up on us. Remember that he went after the two who were heading out to Emmaus. They didn't ask him to come. They didn't even know that they could! So he went to them! And he does the same today.

Notice the timing of when Jesus interrupted their story: It was after they mentioned that Peter and John had not seen Jesus at the tomb. And notice the timing of when he revealed his identity: It was only after their hearts recognized the truth of what was being spoken and their minds yearned for more of it. Only then did Jesus visually confirm what he was explaining. He revealed himself as the Messiah in the breaking of bread (the Eucharist that he had instituted on the previous Thursday) and they quickly returned to God's original plan for them.

We are blind until we understand. Our eyes are opened by Jesus only when we yearn to learn more about the truth. Until we gain that understanding, we should persist on the same path that we've already been on – praying for his guidance as we walk in blind faith. Jesus has already arranged for victory, and it might be just around the corner. To give us confidence, he reveals himself at every Mass when the bread and wine become literally his body and blood. Since he can do that, he can surely transform your tragedies into triumphs.

Note: This is why Good News Ministries provides an online community (an email group) called "Journey to Emmaus." We help each other understand what God is doing in our lives. Join us! Go to http://gogoodnews.net/GNMcommunities/EmmausJourney/

© 2014 by Terry A. Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org)
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to gnm.org/copyrights.htm
For professionally published reflections and other Good News materials for RCIA, church bulletins, etc., please visit Catholic Digital Resources at catholicdr.com

To sign up to receive the Good News Reflections by email, go to gogoodnews.net/DailyReflections

April 21, 2014

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

Today’s Readings: April 22, 2014
Acts 2:36-41
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22
John 20:11-18
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042214.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/14_04_22.mp3

They have taken my....

Let's put ourselves into the sandals of Mary Magdalene, the woman at the tomb in today’s Gospel. We know how she feels. We too have wept because we couldn't find Jesus. For example:

They have taken my job, my income, and I don't know where Jesus is – where is his help?

My health is gone, and I don't know why God hasn't healed me. Where is he when I need him most?

The Lord has taken my husband (or my wife) and I'm so lonely. Why did God leave me alone?

Someone has gossiped against me and stolen my good reputation. Where was God to defend me?

That jerk has taken away my joy and I am miserable. Where is Jesus and the joy of the Lord?

The world has taken my children away from the faith. Why isn't God revealing himself to them in a way that convinces them to come back to church?

They have taken away my rights. Where is the God who gave me those rights?

I am hurting so badly! Will Jesus never rescue me from this? Where is he?

In the resurrection account described by John, Mary only needed to hear Jesus call her by name and she recognized that he was standing in front of her. How is Jesus calling out to you? The answer requires us to look beyond ourselves.

We are a post-Pentecost people, which means that he is calling you – all of us – to continue the ministry he began. Only after we recognize his call to ministry are we able to see what Jesus has been doing right there in front of us. We are healed of our pain, misery and loneliness not by sitting on our couches and complaining, but by doing something with our pain that helps others heal. (This seems to be a secret that too little people know, but it should be a normal part of Christian living.)

In Matthew's account (see Matt. 28:1-10), the women were fearful until an angel said, "Don't be afraid!" and Jesus repeated the message. Fear keeps us from seeing Jesus and from realizing the plan of redemption that God's trying to reveal to us. Like he did for Jesus, the Father wants to redeem our crosses and destructions by transforming them into new lives that will reveal Jesus to others.

In Luke's account (see Luke 24:1-8), angels said to the women, "Why do you seek the living one among the dead?" We fail to see Jesus whenever we focus on what's going wrong. Only when we stop clinging to our limited and self-centered perceptions can we notice that God is leading us into a victorious future.

Listen! Jesus is calling your name. Your resurrection has already begun!

© 2014 by Terry A. Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org)
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to gnm.org/copyrights.htm
For professionally published reflections and other Good News materials for RCIA, church bulletins, etc., please visit Catholic Digital Resources at catholicdr.com

To sign up to receive the Good News Reflections by email, go to gogoodnews.net/DailyReflections