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Posts Tagged ‘Easter joy and hope’


Mark 16:9-15: A Prayer for Unbelief 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

José de Ribera: The Penitent Magdalene or Vanitas

In this second week of Eastertide, as we conclude our exploration of Easter Week Gospel readings, we challenge ourselves to decide where we stand in the Easter story. How many times does Christ approach us to share the good news that our freedom is won? How often do we panic because we have forgotten the Easter miracle of restoration? How frequently do we give thanks to God for the goodness in our lives and then turn to go out to share this good news?

Now after [Jesus] rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. 

We may be the mourning Mary who experiences rejection when she shares her hope-filled story with others, or we may be those who scoff at her joy.

After this [Jesus] appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

We may be the Emmaus disciples who spend a day and share a meal with the risen Christ, or we may be those who are content in their skepticism.

Later [Jesus] appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

We may be one of the eleven who huddle in the upper room, afraid to leave and afraid to stay, persisting in our unbelief. Or we may take in Christ’s rebuke, and then go out to join all of creation in praising God.

And [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”

We may be one of those who persists in the bitterness of disappointment, or one who neither doubts nor believes but who chooses to stand in some in-between world of detachment.

Today, as we consider that Christ leaves not one of his sheep behind, let us choose to believe the Easter miracle and take up Christ’s gift of new-born joy rising from pain. Let us admit that we have the freedom to choose to ignore or to react to Christ’s presence in our lives. And let us put aside our unbelief to join all of creation in praise of God’s persistent love. And so we pray.

Good and gentle Jesus, you know what to say to us so that we might believe. We thank you for your hope. 

Gracious and generous God, you meet our fears with your mighty persistence. We thank you for your fidelity.

Giving and merciful Spirit, you calm our fears and soothe our anxieties. We thank you for your love.

Amen.


Today’s verses are from the NRSV translation of Mark’s Gospel. When we open other translations, we also open ourselves to Easter belief.

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/ , http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/roadtoemmaus.htm and http://www.beliefnet.com/espanol/20-asombrosas-palabras-de-jesus-para-ti.aspx?p=9

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Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus – Part VI

Friday, April 7, 2017

Remains of the original road to Emmaus

From Richard Rohr’s reflections, A Spring Within Us: Much of religion has bought right into the honor/shame system. All we did was change the cultural rules to religious rules. Now there was yet another way superior – by being pious, publicly religious, and “moral” about one or two things (which are usually not central issues). Yet Jesus’ teachings against status-seeking and building up religious reputation tell us again and again, “Don’t go there!” (Examine Matthew 6:1-21 and Luke 18:9-14.) (Rohr 105-106)

The two disciples who leave Jerusalem after Jesus’s crucifixion have no idea that the risen Christ joins them in their journey to Emmaus. Perhaps Christ chooses anonymity because he wants the disciples to behave genuinely. He wants no barriers or false faces. No preening, no adulation, no preening or posing. And this is how Christ wants each of us to behave in our interactions with him. After all, God knows every detail of our lives. The Spirit knows every dark corner of our hearts.

Eugene Delacroix: The Disciples at Emmaus

Today we examine our own behavior to look for signs of status-seeking, of building up of our own ideas of religious purity or superiority. Today we have the opportunity to come to Christ in innocent openness. We have the chance to put away our cultural and religious systems of shame and honor. We have the invitation to think about original grace rather than original sin, to both ask for and offer forgiveness, to walk with Christ on our journey to Emmaus, in expectation of Easter hope and joy.

Richard Rohr, OFM. The Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

For more on the original road to Emmaus, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.jesus-story.net/emmaus.htm 

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