I love this reading today and it seems to fit in with my life this week. Here in this passage, the Risen Jesus is on the beach, offering to cook breakfast for the apostles, who had been fishing all night. It represents Jesus in the ordinary tasks of our lives. Much of my energy since Easter has been to clean, paint and purchase new carpet for my home. After last week's holiness, this seem stark contrast and oh, so worldly! So I sat and wondered, this morning, how can something so ordinary be made holy? And then, I read about Jesus on the beach, cooking over a charcoal fire, for the fishermen's breakfast. Oh, so ordinary! I ask you, Lord, as I tackle this project, please help me to make it holy somehow. Help me to be kind to the people selling me the supplies, help me to refrain from unholy language when something goes awry. Help me know when to quit and be safe as I climb around painting nooks and crannies. Help me to know that, even in this worldly, mundane task, you are with me, cheering me on! Help me to remember that anything we do with love and giving God the glory can be holy and a time to commune with God. Amen! Love, heidi
"But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost."
The two readings we have today reflect such an amazing contrast between the disciples just after the crucifixion and then, after Pentecost. Here they are, in the Upper Room, just after Jesus' death on the cross. They are shivering and scared, behind locked doors, afraid that the same people who crucified Jesus will come after them. In today's first reading from Acts, here is Peter proclaiming at the temple, "The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses." (Acts 3:15) Peter has evolved from a quivering denier of Jesus in the courtyard to a seemingly fearless proclaimer of Jesus at the temple! The fact that St. Luke is the author of both readings, makes it even more interesting. Can the Holy Spirit do that for us, too? Can the Holy Spirit give us the fearless verve it takes to proclaim Jesus in our own environments? Certainly! Holy Spirit, please give me what I need today to give the world what Jesus gives...the Father's love and mercy! Love, heidi
"Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him."
A couple of things popped out at me when I read this wonderful Gospel this morning. First, I wonder how Jesus' appearance was so different that the apostles could not recognize him. How disguised was he? And the sentence, "their eyes were prevented from recognizing him," sounds like a third party was involved, actually blinding them to Jesus' identity. Does that happen to us? Perhaps that is something we could blame on the devil, though I never want to give him credit for anything. And finally, don't we often come away from a situation with the thought, "Wow, I sure could have done THAT better!" Couldn't that also mean, "Wow, I sure could have recognized you sooner, Jesus!" The sooner we can recognize Jesus in a situation, the sooner we can change our behavior! The sooner we can find some empathy for the person with whom we are struggling. The sooner we can collect ourselves and act with compassion. Risen Jesus! Please open our eyes to see you right away in a difficult situation and help us act with love and mercy. Love, heidi
I love that he used an exclamation point! As I was typing this, I needed to double check if it had an exclamation point and it did! I love that! Mary didn't recognize Jesus outside the tomb until he called her by name. Just like in the TV show "Joan of Arcadia," Joan could only be sure she was talking to God when God used her name. That was her sign. Unfortunately, in our lives, the Jesus we encounter each day, through our work and travels, may not always call us by name. If that was the case, it would be much easier to see Jesus in the guy with all the tattoos at the gas station or the snippy cashier at the convenience store. Then, would we be more inclined to show kindness? Would we be more inclined to converse? Or maybe Jesus is the family member with whom we struggle. If he called us by name would we be more inclined to forgive? If every time Jesus crossed our path he used our name would we recognize him? We will all encounter Jesus today. And, just like Mary at the tomb, we won't recognize him. Until he calls us by name. Let's look harder this Easter Tuesday! Exclamation point! Love, heidi
"Still fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and other spices, the burial cloths were neatly rolled up and set aside. Without a body to envelop, they were merely relics of a tragedy that had now run its course; death had given way to life, the grave had surrendered its occupant. Upon discovering the discarded funeral bindings, the disciples 'saw and believed.'"
Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, "Living With Christ"
I really loved this yesterday! Ms. Stewart goes on to ask what bindings we may need to shed and leave in the tomb so that we can go forth with the Risen Jesus. Such a fabulous pondering! What can I leave behind as a relic to the former me, who was wrapped up in burial bindings? Well, I can leave behind my irritability with people and my harsh judgments. I want to leave behind my sense of my own "right-ness" about things and accept that others are "right," too; their opinions just may differ from mine. As I move out of the tomb with the Risen Jesus, I embrace his compassion and love for others and chose to emulate that to those I meet. I want to love better! Let's move out of this musty tomb! Let's go to Galilee! (or at least let's go forth to do what we do this April Monday!) Love, heidi