This is the first one I’ve posted BEFORE actually delivering it, a practice I don’t ususally do. This will be presented this coming Sunday April 26th, 2009 and the readings are Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Ps 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9; 1 Jn 2:1-5a; Lk 24:35-48. It is also my son Thomas’ first communion this weekend, although I will not be preaching that particular mass.
“Why do questions arise in your heart?”
We’ve heard time and again that the only stupid questions are the ones which are never asked . . .
. . . But Jesus here kind of takes that saying and throws it out the window.
HE says – we shouldn’t still have any questions LEFT at all.
Why would that be?
I can give it to you in one word – FULFILLMENT.
As he hung upon the cross – as we just heard on Good Friday – his last words were three that we all remember very well: “IT IS FINISHED.”
Today, we get to understand just EXACTLY what all of it meant.
What we’ve just heard is the very last part of Luke’s Gospel – only two verses come after this briefly describing Jesus’ ascension – and it is the passage we heard today where everything that went before was FINALLY EXPLAINED.
It is here that we FINALLY get to understand it all – this is the FINAL EPISODE of JESUS THE TV SERIES where everything GETS REVEALED!
And you know what the BIG REVEAL is?
HA! YOU HAVE TO GO BACK AND WATCH ALL THE EPISODES AGAIN!
Luke plays with the reader here – he tells us ONLY that “Jesus explains it all to everybody” but he gives us NONE of the details.
Jesus here seems kind of like an amused big brother explaining things to his younger siblings – things he knows very well and finds it kind of funny that they just can’t seem to get it. (As the oldest of four I can kind of relate . . .)
“Why do questions arise in your heart?”
We really DO need to AVOID having a TV mentality on this one though.
Unlike on television – WE – the viewing audience here – are NOT SUPPOSED to be spoon fed all the answers at the end of THIS show and go “AH HA – THAT’s what all that really meant!”
Luke sort of presumes here – somewhat understandably – that we’ve watched at least some of the previous episodes up to this point, as well as being at least passingly familiar with the “Old Testament” TV Series that finished up some time back (that was a great one too by the way) and as a general rule we can say we’ve at least seen some of them – and that’s good enough actually.
. . . BUT while this might NOT have been good TV – it’s very much good gospel writing – good news actually to coin a phrase.
What’s great here is that Jesus reveals that this was God’s plan ALL ALONG, ever since Adam’s sin.
Jesus, you know, HAD explained this before – at least partially – to all sorts of people on all sorts of occasions:
. . To his own village of Nazareth in “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
. . .To the Jews of Jerusalem in “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
. . .And to Peter in Gethsemane – “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?” (
You see – Jesus had been talking about FULFILLMENT all the time throughout the series . . .
. . . BUT ALMOST NOBODY EVER GOT IT.
Just hearing it, it seems – isn’t enough.
It takes the ACTION – the DRAMA – the CLIMAX – just like in any good TV program – for everyone to TRULY GET IT.
It takes the empty Tomb . . .
It takes Mary Magdalene weeping in the garden. . .
It takes the man in white standing outside asking why we look for the living among the dead . . .
It takes the nail holes in his hands and his feet and the lance mark in his side . . . as we saw with Thomas last week.
It takes the RESURRECTION for everyone to BELIEVE, but it took TODAY’s Gospel for everyone to UNDERSTAND.
You do all understand now, don’t you?
Well don’t feel too badly if you still have some difficulties or questions – we all do, although I’d like to think we’re quite a bit further along than the disciples were in today’s Gospel.
You see, even though the final episode of Jesus The TV Series was broadcast some time ago, we do have the benefit of the 2000+ seasons of the ongoing spin off series – “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” to help us understand.
And just what is it that the FULFILLMENT teaches us?
All that God promised, he has accomplished!
We have been redeemed!
Eternal life is not only possible, it is actually realistically attainable!
Jesus is the CHRIST – the MESSIAH – HE is the promised one since the time of Adam, slowly revealed through Noah, Moses, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and all the rest.
Now we can have REAL HOPE when we worry about our jobs, our bills and all that may come from the uncertain economic future we face – we KNOW that God has a plan, and that he will not LEAVE us orphaned.
NOW when we sit at the bedside of our sick loved ones we can KNOW that God not only exists, but that he loves each and every one of us.
We might worry – we might be afraid – and, yes, we might even suffer . . .
. . . But we can be COMFORTED for FULFILLMENT HAS HAPPENED.
God was with us the whole time BUT he is NOW with us in new and most amazing ways unlike before.
It was all God’s PLAN from the beginning – just like us celebrating the Eucharist like we will do in a few moments.
FULFILLMENT HAS COME – LET US REJOICE NOW AT THE TABLE OF THE LORD BECAUSE OF IT.