Monday, May 1, 2017

Faith in God Lifts Us Up

The pyramids in Egypt are a wonder of the ancient world.  For more than two millenia, scientists, tourists, and grave robbers had searched for the burial places of the pharaohs.  Many gave up.  In 1922, Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, unlocked the world’s most exciting archaeological find: the tomb and treasure of King Tutankhamen.  Carter discovered Tut’s tomb because he persevered.

Rembrandt, Supper at Emmaus
Today's word of God, from one viewpoint, is about persistence, seeking and finding God.

Peter had denied he knew Jesus.  But Peter realized what he did and wept bitterly.  He begged forgiveness.  Jesus asked, “Do you love me?”  Peter said, “You know I love you.”  Peter had fallen badly, but God lifted him up.   Despite our own falls, God continually lifts us up.  A repentant Peter fearlessly proclaims that Jesus is risen.  Jesus lives and so we live. That is the Easter message.

The author of the Lukan Gospel describes two disciples who initially didn’t recognize Jesus even as they were walking and talking with him.  Eventually in the “breaking of the bread” (a phrase for the Eucharist) they recognized with their eyes of faith the transfigured reality of Jesus Christ.  They were seeking God and found him in the risen Christ.

I like to think that God reveals himself to us if we persistently seek him. We seek God in prayer and especially in the Mass.   But we also should seek God's wisdom in the bible; seek his Spirit in trying to do the right thing; and seek his presence in our daily routine.

Yes, seek God's wisdom in the prayerful reading of the bible, a privileged expression of our faith.  God is the author in that it highlights what God wants us to know about himself, his relationship with the universe, and his purpose for us. The bible is about religious, not scientific, truths. The many biblical authors communicated  these religious truths through the languages, images and literary forms with which they were familiar.  At the heart of the bible is the Christian belief that Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, entered into our history so that we could become "like God."  Jesus Christ is our way into the future, our truth who exemplifies our true self, and our life in and with and through whom we breathe and live.  We open the bible to hear from God about the baffling questions of life.  Seeking God requires discipline and patience. That's why we pray.

Second, seek God's Spirit persistently.  Jesus notes the importance of persistence.  For everyone who asks receives; and they who seek find; and to those who keep knocking, the door shall be opened. Obviously, we should seek the right things: God, his kingdom, his grace, his Spirit.

Finally, seek God's presence enthusiastically in our daily routine.  How we relate to others is hugely important, the subject of seven out of the ten commandments. However, our relationship with God is the most important aspect of our life. Out of this relationship our love for others should flow.  Seek God daily, and we will find life in all its fullness and his life--divine life--will transform us into new creatures in the way we love and serve one another. And then we will discover our true treasure: God and the things of God.

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