By: Carolyn M. Berghuis, MS, ND, CTN, April 8, 2015.
How often do we experience miracles in our lives? The birth of a child, the bliss of romantic love, the gift of friendship, the healing of an “incurable” disease – not to mention the miracle of transubstantiation. What if we, like the crippled man in today’s first reading, went to our church jumping and praising God after experiencing a miracle? Would it make a difference in the world today?
God loves it when we praise him and today’s scripture readings are rich with this very notion. Of course God does not need our praise, rather, he loves it when we praise him because of what it does for us, his beloved children. When we praise him our whole being; body, mind and heart begins to more closely resemble God. Today’s Psalms (105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9) beautifully reveal to us how to praise God: give him thanks, call on his name, proclaim his deeds to all the people, sing to him, make music for him, recount all his wonders – the list goes on! So beautiful – and all easily found in scripture.
Remember the crippled man in today’s first reading (Acts 3:1-10), who after receiving healing at the hands of Peter and John, was compelled to go to the temple with the disciples. No doubt studying sacred scripture would be part of this visit. Along the way he was jumping and praising God in such a heightened manner that “everyone” could see him. That’s right, he was so filled with joy that “everyone” took notice! We read that those who witnessed his jubilant behavior were astonished and perplexed. What if we, after experiencing a miracle, expressed such magnificent jubilee? What effect could we have on our little corner of the world? Would others around us be astonished and perplexed? Would our joy be the light that God uses for someone to turn to him? Could we become the magnet God uses to draw his lost sheep more closely to himself?
I invite you to think for a moment about those individuals in your life who are authentically joy filled, who find joy in praising God. You know, those folks who walk with a spring in their step and a smile on their face even in hard times. Do they attract others to themselves? Do they radiate an internal joy that others are drawn to? Do others want to be like them? Do you find yourself feeling better in their presence? Do you want to be more joy filled like them? I know silly questions – of course the answer is yes. You too can be the joyful person and praising God for the miracles in your life is a good place to start. Just imagine what the world look like if all God’s children praised him like the crippled man after experiencing his infinite miracles in our lives.
In today’s Gospel (Luke 24:13-35) we further witness the great power that awaits us if we but only submerse ourselves in scripture. The two disciples of Christ, on their walk to Emmaus, unknowingly encountered Jesus on the day he rose from the dead. Jesus, explaining to the two men the prophecies of the Old Testament showed them how his resurrection had already been foretold. Yes, again, turn to scripture – it’s all there. The secrets we seek that will lead to eternal joy and happiness have already been gifted to us from our most loving Father and we can find this in our Bible. Just as the hearts of these disciples burned within as Jesus explained scripture, our hearts can burn as well if we allow Jesus, who lives within us, to reveal sacred scripture to us. As Jesus finally revealed himself to these two men when he took the bread and blessed it, he too desires to reveal himself to us and open our eyes and heart in the Eucharist and in sacred scripture.
Here is an area I love being Catholic! All of us, like the disciples on the walk to Emmaus, have a heart that will burn within as it more fully understands scripture. As Catholics we enjoy a rich faith full of individuals who have devoted years and decades of their life to understanding sacred scripture. From the writings of the great saints, to our modern day religious (who by the way spend decades learning the faith), to our lay educators we have a plethora of devotees of the faith we can trust and turn to for direction and guidance.
As many a Catholic can attest, once we embark upon the journey of uniting ourselves more fully with Father God by studying scripture our hearts will burn, our joy will expand and we will find ourselves walking around with a spring in our step while praises to God rolls off our lips.
Jesus – I love you!
Catholic Daily Mass Reflections
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox