“…Neither Silver Nor Gold…”
“…Hearts Burning Within Us…”
This Easter Season celebrates Life and Growth…and today we have two Scripture selections that powerfully proclaim the Life and Growth and Meaning that is ours in Jesus, Risen from the dead!
Our selection from the Acts of the Apostles relates the ministry of Peter and John as they went to the temple area to pray…after the Resurrection of Jesus. They meet a crippled man begging for alms that would help him make it through the day. Peter looks intently at him and speaks to him: “…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.” Peter helped the man stand up, and he started to walk around and even leap…cured!!! Jumping and praising God!!! New Life…in the name of Jesus! We can hardly imagine the intensity of feelings experienced by Peter, John, and the cured man.
The Gospel selection is a classic Easter story: the disciples meeting the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus. The story unfolds: two disciples walking along, trying to make sense of Jesus’ death and the “tale” of his body missing from the tomb; unknowingly they meet Jesus on the road, who senses their dejected spirit and asks them what they’re discussing as they walk along; the conversation builds and Jesus shares with them “the rest of the story”; the excitement builds, Jesus is invited to stay with them, and the disciples eyes were opened as Jesus breaks bread and says the blessing – it’s Jesus! Their “hearts were burning” and they set out at once, running to tell the other disciples the Good News: “The Lord has been raised!” Again, what intense feelings must have coursed through their beings as they met the risen Jesus and then ran to tell the others!
The Risen Jesus meets us on the road of life this day…as we wander our streets and shopping malls, trying to make sense of life today – with the prejudice and violence that 50 years ago today led to Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and still plagues our streets, the selfishness and lack of respect for all life, the sufferings of today’s sick and marginalized, etc. We too seek meaning and fresh encouragement — and the risen Jesus shows us His sacred wounds and reminds us that there is more to life than suffering and death, that His death on Good Friday didn’t spoil the weekend, that nothing is more powerful than God’s all-encompassing Love.
With the depth of feelings shared by those early disciples and the man cured of his disease, we too can proclaim: We are an Easter People – and “Alleluia” is our song. And, as the theologian Fr. Eugene Maly once said: “…at the same time we belong to a Pilgrim People whose ‘alleluias’ are still a bit off key…” Alleluia…anyway!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.