Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Good News Reflection
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
April 15, 2009

Today's Readings:
Acts 3:1-10
Ps 105:1-4, 6-9
Luke 24:13-35

Recognizing Jesus when he comes to us

Mary Magdalene did not recognize the risen Jesus until he called her by name. In today's Gospel story, the disciples on the road to Emmaus do not recognize him until they (1) listen to him explain the Word, and (2) break bread with him.

When Jesus gave them a new understanding of scripture, these two unnamed disciples did not recognize him consciously (in their heads), but their hearts definitely did. Their heads caught up with their hearts at the end of the journey when Jesus gave them a eucharistic sharing of the bread.

The Masses we celebrate today are meant to be a similar journey of rediscovering and recognizing Jesus. First, we have the Liturgy of the Word. To get value from the scriptures as they are read at Mass, we must listen with our hearts.

Then we move into the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When the presiding priest consecrates the bread and wine, it is actually Jesus who is doing it. Christ who dwells within him is doing for us what he did for those two disciples at Emmaus.

If we have opened our hearts to Jesus during the first part of Mass, we will have the faith to see much more than a piece of bread and a cup of wine. We know with our hearts AND our heads that the Eucharist is indeed truly the body and blood of Jesus — not symbols, not what our eyes or our taste buds tell us, but what faith tells us.

Those who still cannot believe with their hearts that the bread and wine are transformed into Jesus himself need only ask Jesus to help them recognize the truth and continue asking until they experience the truth. The desire to believe is the starting point of full belief.

When Jesus comes to you in the Word, is your heart quickened? Do the scriptures touch your heart and change your life? And when the bread and wine miraculously become Jesus, do you fall onto your knees in awe because you are in the presence of God Almighty? Do you feel unworthy to receive onto your lips one so holy as Jesus? When you pray, "Lord I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed," are you changed by the experience? Do you become holier, purer, and more determined to live the way Jesus asks you to?

Finally, are you so moved by your encounter with Jesus in Mass that you leave church like the two disciples in Emmaus? They set out at once and returned to Jerusalem to tell others what Jesus had done for them. They became evangelizers. They did not keep the news to themselves; they shared it so that others could benefit.

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica
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