I Told You So
#IToldYouSo is the podcast for April 15, 2018. Jesus appears to the disciples again and it reveals a lot about our expectations and what God intends for our lives. It explains why we do what we do on Sundays. Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Luke #Luke24 #Worship #Expectations #Revelation
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For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 4/15/2018 The 3rd Sunday of Easter.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 24:35-48.
Why do we do what we do on Sundays? The answer is in this passage from the Gospel of Luke for this Third Sunday of Easter. Why do we dress up the space with an altar, a cloth, a baptismal font, maybe flowers, we burn incense, then, we sing, we listen to our pastor or our priest talk about readings from a book, approach the altar and eat a small piece of bread and drink a small sip of wine. Then, we all walk away, usually, in a state of peace. To say it that way, we all seem a little silly, don’t we?
In these two appearance stories after the women report that Jesus is Resurrected, we have two instances where what we do here every Sunday is patterned by Jesus. First, we have Cleopas, whose name means “glory of the Father,” who is walking with another disciple from Jerusalem to Emmaus. That is the story that precedes the Gospel for today. If you recall, Jesus meets them along the way and they tell Jesus the story of his own resurrection, but they are confused by the story they are telling. There are two who are gathered in Jesus’ presence in this story. It is definitely a true “when two or more are gathered in my name” moment.
In the presence of two, Jesus interprets the meaning of the entire Law and Prophets with his own death and resurrection as the interpretive key. Then they break bread and Jesus is revealed to them.
In the second story, the one for today, Jesus appears to the apostles behind locked doors and shows him that he is bodily raised from the dead and renewed, not resuscitated. He offers them peace and they are startled, scared, hopeful, yet not fully convinced. He demonstrates he is alive in a physical body, just like the passage from John we had from last week. Again, when they are together, Jesus is present and interprets the scriptures for them. Again, he gives them the mission: to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins.
The pattern is clear, when we gather together, Jesus is with us. He opens our minds to understand what the revelation of God is to the world. He gives us a mission.
Even within the pattern, there is [worship/the Mass] itself: We gather. Jesus is preached as the fulfillment of the revelation of God in the Scriptures. We share the Eucharist where he is “made known to us”. Then we are sent forth to be a living sermon, a living homily of repentance and forgiveness of sins. We invite others to join us to experience Christ in our midst.
He told us what we are doing. We are remembering, thus reliving, the Sacrifice the God of the Universe made on the Cross for us as the reconciling act of God between Himself and humanity so that there would no longer be any separation between God and us. He told us that he would suffer at the hands of humanity. Humanity was just trying to dominate God with killing and death. He told us that he would rise and defeat death. He told us so. He told us so.
All the silliness has meaning in this context. All [worship/of this], every Sunday, is about the Road to Emmaus and the Upper Room appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection. We come here and gather because we are Jesus people. He is the center of our community.
We listen to scriptures because we have Jesus to help us understand them. The preaching is based upon Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection as the interpretive key to the Law and the Prophets. These teachings bring us to repentance. We know we have to turn our lives toward him. He tells us so.
We dress the altar because the bloody sacrifice is now made present in the Bread and the Cup. No longer a shocking execution of an innocent criminal, the Eucharist is a renewal of us through the forgiveness of our sins when the Lord of the Universe enters our bodies to become nourishment for our bones. He is “made known in the breaking of the bread.”
We do not come here to be silly. We come here with a very serious proposition: God loves the world and wants us to help him save it and renew it. We come here because it is when two or more are gathered that he makes himself known and present. This does not mean that he does not come to us alone. There are plenty of examples of God coming to us on our own. Yet, our identity is part of a community of Jesus people who know the special nature of the surety of his coming when we gather together.
When someone says to me, “I can commune with God on my own,” I understand. Yes, we can, but we don’t gather together as a means self-help, self-improvement, or a fill my tank up episode. We gather as a form of identity. We gather because we were told that when we do, Jesus will reveal himself to us, make himself known, and give us what we need to accomplish the mission. We are God’s people, not just God’s person. Salvation is a communal enterprise. It is for the many, not just the one. A relationship with Jesus is meant to be shared. It is meant to be shared first in the community of faith. Then it is meant to be shared in the world.
How we know is that he told us so.
So, as we come to [Worship/Mass] each week, we should anticipate that Jesus is going to reveal something to us and the community. We should anticipate he is going to offer us peace. We should anticipate that he is going to renew us. We should anticipate that he is going to either remind us of our mission or give us a new mission. We should anticipate we are going to hear that new mission in the Scriptures and the Homily. We should anticipate we are going to encounter him in the Eucharist as food for the journey. We should anticipate we will hear him in the prayers, feel his presence in [the/this] space. We should anticipate Him in such a way that there is no other place where we would rather be.
Basically, we should anticipate that when we [worship/come here] we are encountering the living God. Encountering the Living God is our purpose and our meaning. That isn’t silly at all. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2018.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian