Sunday April 26, 2020 The Third Sunday of Easter (Cycle A)
The tie in between today’s readings: Guided Mysteries
Growing up, my favorite puzzle was the hidden picture. If you’ve never done one, a large picture is drawn on a page and you are challenged to find a list of smaller items: a cup, fish, bird, etc., drawn and hidden within it. Some you pick out quickly, but there are always a few that are hard to find. It can take some time before you see them and while you’re looking, you’ll swear that there’s nothing there…there must have been a misprint. The fun is the surprise that you get when you finally discover those elusive ones hidden in plain sight. Christianity is full of paradoxes and puzzles. God has not left us on our own to solve them. We never could. He specializes in guiding us through the mysteries. A good example is in our gospel reading, Luke 24:13-35, where we go on the road to Emmaus with two guys who just can’t figure it out.
Jesus joins our downtrodden companions, who apparently knew the Apostles and most likely, Jesus, very well. He asks them, “Why they are so sad?” They answer; but, oddly, Jesus keeps them from recognizing Him. A principle of God-guided discovery is at play here. The Lord won’t give you what you’re not ready for. Imagine the mind-blowing shock if Christ had just walked up behind them and said, “Hi guys, it’s Me!” They would be so overwhelmed that whatever else the Lord wanted to tell them would never sink in. There is an infinite amount of truth for our thimble sized minds to comprehend. It’s the Lord’s prerogative to decide what you get and how you get it. It’s for us to have the humility to accept that God reveals and conceals truth as He sees fit.
Having asked the question, Jesus leads them to the answer from their recap of the past few days’ events. He goes to school them in God’s primary source of truth, the scripture. Starting at the beginning with Moses, Jesus leads them through the prophesies about the Messiah. No doubt He includes our reading today in Psalm 16:1-11. There in verse 10, God provides one of His proof texts that His Christ will be resurrected. It’s important for us to study and be well grounded in scripture as God guides us to discover faith’s mysteries. God uses our knowledge of His word to direct us. If you know little, you get little. If you know more, you get more. Read your Bible! You’ll never know Jesus, if you don’t know Jack!
All day, Jesus has been explaining what the scripture has to say about resurrection to their rapt attention. It’s getting late. The companions insist that He bunk with them that night. There at dinner, the Lord takes bread, blesses, breaks, and gives it to them. Now, their eyes are opened and they recognize Him. As soon as this happens, He disappears. Here we have God revealing Himself through the mysteries of the sacraments. Faith, words, and substance combine to compliment scriptural knowledge to give us a deeper insight into the Lord and ourselves. Sacraments reveal miracles in a timeless and universal manner. The miracle of salvation and the resurrection are seen in Baptism. The mystery of the church shows in Matrimony. We see through the eyes of faith. We are His miracle people. He is always with us. Even though these men were not at the Last Supper, Jesus still uses the Eucharist as a sign of His presence. He disappears…but He is still there.
What do miracle people do with the discoveries that God has given them? They tell others. Our two travelers on the Emmaus road immediately went out into the pitch-black Judean darkness to tell the Apostles that Jesus had risen and how they recognized Him through the breaking of the bread. Weeks later, when the Holy Spirit is poured out on Pentecost Sunday, we see in our reading in Acts 2:22-33, Saint Peter preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem. He uses our reading in Psalm 16 to explain the resurrection of Christ. Three thousand believe that day and receive Baptism. The three principles of God- guided discovery are on display: God the Holy Spirit opening hearts to the truth, Peter teaching from the text of scripture, and sacrament testifying to the reality of our spiritual relationship to God and each other.
Our last reading in 1 Peter 1:17-21 urges us to live our lives in holiness with reverence to God. Our salvation is priceless. Peter goes on to say that gold could not redeem us. Only Christ’s precious blood could take away sin. He finishes by reminding us that our faith and hope is in God. There are hidden pictures of God throughout the Bible. May the Lord open our hearts to receive these scripture mysteries. There are hidden pictures in the sacraments that remind us that we are His miracle people. Let’s spread the message of God’s love to others and draw closer to Him in study and worship. He will draw closer to us and open our minds to exciting new discoveries of Himself. When you come to think of it, after all, isn’t that what heaven is really about?