April 24, 2019
Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Acts_3:1-10
. . while he (the risen Jesus) was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” Lk_24:13-35
Today’s Scriptures speak to us about people who are crippled. You see, some people may be physically handicapped from birth. For some of us, well, time and nature are just physically catching up with us. And yet, other people have simply allowed their environment, the world in which they live, to cripple their minds from being able to discern the Truth from what the world wants them to believe.
And, it’s funny, because that Truth is often, just staring them, staring us right in the face.
The man in our first reading, who was crippled from birth, was also blinded from the Truth – that the Apostles, Peter and John, were just as poor, in money, as he was. But, in reality, they were richer than the wealthiest person in all of Jerusalem … They were rich in their Faith in Jesus. And just like Jesus, they were willing to give everything they had to open the mind of that crippled man to the boundless wealth of the love of God. And that Love was all the crippled man would ever need for the rest of his life!
The disciples in the Gospel, on the other hand, were crippled in a different way. Their crippled way of thinking made them just as blind to the Truth as the man who couldn’t walk from birth, even though they were perfectly capable of walking the 7-miles back home.
You see, what happened to those disciples often happens to all of us. We’re sitting or standing there, listening to the Scriptures and the homily, and instead of absorbing what we’re hearing and searching for God’s Truth in those Words, we’re filtering the message to fit what WE want it to mean. . . Or even worse, we totally close off our listening, to wander around, lost in our “worldly” thoughts.
And just like those disciples, who totally missed everything that Jesus had taught them while He was alive and with them, and even what He was telling them on this journey, it still took that “aha-ha moment” – in the breaking of the bread, for them to realize that Jesus was there, ‘burning in their hearts’ – all along.
The question then becomes our Lesson for the day!
What does it take in our lives, brothers and sisters, to make us recognize our own crippledness, our own blindness to Jesus, who is sitting or walking there, right next to us?
You see, every time Jesus nourished the disciples, or the people, or even us, in Word and in Meal, something was Broken.
Jesus broke open the Scriptures.
Jesus broke the bread.
And now, Jesus breaks our spirits of selfishness, of crippledness, of blindness, and of sin. And He did, and does that – by allowing Himself to be broken for us!
How willing are we, beloved, to give our broken love, but God’s perfect Love-in-us, to heal our broken brothers and sisters with a healing that only Jesus can provide? And when we are willing to take that step, we’ll discover that it can truly be a life-changing experience, not only for them, but for us as well.
As the Psalmist tells us, today, “Rejoice O hearts that seek the Lord.” (Ps 105) For Jesus IS risen and dwells among us – in all time and in all situations! And for that we acclaim, “Blessed be the Lord our God!”
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