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Know Him

First Reading: Acts 3:11-26

As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.”
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
“You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:

A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people.

“Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Gospel: Luke 24:35-48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

NAB

march 31

I love this Gospel! Jesus appears to them as they are speaking about all the mysterious, terrifying, troubling things that have happened of late and just when they get to the part where they recognized Him in the breaking of the bread, He says, “Oh, hey, here I am again. Peace out.”

And they’re troubled all over again.

How many times does He come to me and make Himself known, only to have me fail to recognize Him and fail to seize His peace and make it my own?

He is there, every time we choose to seek and find Him in the Eucharist. He is right there, to see and taste and take into ourselves. As we approach to receive Holy Communion, can we hear Him say, “Peace be with you. Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?”

Jesus is there in the tender mercies of everyday life. How aware are you of the very personal little ways He cares for you, the small blessings along the way that mean He is ever enveloping you in His protection? The Lord offers to us His consolation and His protection, particularly suited to our individual situation and disposition. Those are the ways He meets you on the road.

As Lent draws to a close and the celebration of the miraculous begins in earnest, commit to recording every day those tender mercies, just for a season, just long enough to let your soul fully open in the spring sunshine.

But wait, before you head off into your day, there’s one more place to look, to open your eyes and truly see Him there. Go back and re-read the verses carefully. Don’t skim them or skip to the essay. God said to them, “These are my words . . . .”  These very words! He wants to you to have them. He wants you to know them intimately. He wants you to find them in your Bible and underline them and trace your finger over them and make them yours.

Then He wants you to do it again tomorrow.

We invoke the presence of Jesus when we read Scripture and we ponder its truth. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the words on the page leap into your heart. They are Him, come to console you, come to bring you peace. Know Him, this morning and every day for forever.

photo credit

Elizabeth Foss is a wife, the mother of nine, and a grandmother. She finds the cacophony of big family imperfection to be the perfect place to learn to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace. You can learn more about her here

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