Pondering for Sunday, April 23, 2023

Eucharistic Readings for the Third Sunday of Easter: Year A

Acts 2:14a,36-41Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17;    1 Peter 1:17-23Luke 24:13-35:

“They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

Back in my Marine Corps days and on one of my deployments to Italy, I had an Aircraft Maintenance Officer who would often come by my desk in our open hangar and say, “Top” (That was what I was called), “Walk with me, talk with me.”  This was his way of having time to share each other’s thoughts about how maintenance things were going in our aircraft squadron. I remember these occasions as “catch up” times.

In more recent years and as a priest, I once had a young woman who asked if she could do spiritual guidance with me, and if so, could we walk around outside as we did it. I agreed but first wanted to have the traditional office conference and then try the “walk with me talk with me” sessions.  As it turned out she moved away suddenly and we never got to do the “walk with me talk with me” parts, This was my loss.

In our Lord Jesus’ walk in this story on the road to Emmaus, Cleopas and his companion couldn’t seem to recognize Jesus until he served them dinner, later at “their” home. There, after Jesus had left, they confided between themselves that the opening of the Scriptures caused a burning in their hearts. It truly was an “Ah, ha” moment for them. Our Lord Jesus took both the Scriptures and the Bread and blessed them, and opened (or divided) them, and then gave them. Are you seeing what is happening here?  Are you having a moment now?

You and I are Monday morning quarterbacks here, given that we know the story well. But too many of us still don’t get it. Jesus’ story didn’t just begin with his birth.  It began long ago in the mighty acts of God in human history. We human beings are beings of our stories. We need to tell them, and we need to listen to the stories of others. Walking guidance may very well be the best spiritual guidance there is. Walking is just an example of doing something that eases the smooth transition of conversation.  We could just as easily converse as we did food preparation together, yard work, or a board game, or while playing golf, some say that real business discissions are made on the golf course.

Walking is a good example because it is casual and allows for deep attention to be given to content.  Who knows, maybe one day I will do some walking spiritual guidance. I would like to try it in a spiritual context.  It worked well in Marine Aviation while deployed in Italy with my boss and me.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Russia, Sudan, South Sudan and our schools.

As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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