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The Way of an Eagle in the Sky

First Reading: Acts 13:26-33

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB

R. (7bc) You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
“I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
“Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.

Gospel: John 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

NAB

April 22nd devotion

In today’s Gospel, we encounter Jesus’ famous words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” As I contemplated Jesus as “the way,” I remembered the following lines from Proverbs:

Here are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a young woman.

The “way” the poet speaks of is not just a pathway, not just a direction, indeed it is a way of functioning. The eagle flies naturally. The snake’s slither is an instinct. We know that Christ is the way, but unfortunately for us, choosing Christ is not instinctual.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus encourages His disciples: “Where I am going you know the way.” And Saint Thomas immediately responds: “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

When I first read the passage, Thomas’s words seemed a little harsh: he contradicts Jesus. But as I reread it, I was struck by Thomas’s honesty and even humility. Unlike the eagle in the sky who soars so effortlessly, we are fumbling here on earth. We desire so much goodness, but it’s challenging to realize that goodness in life’s humdrum challenges. Like Thomas, be honest about this struggle and let his words become your natural response to frustration: “Master, I do not know where you are going; how can I know the way?”

When the car in front of you doesn’t see the green light, or the wait at the doctor’s office is too long, or the toddler takes forever to walk from the car to the house—any moment that teases you away from charity and towards impatience or frustration—speak Thomas’s words as a humble prayer: “Master, I do not know where you are going; how can I know the way?”

photo credit

Kate Rhodes is the wife of a lanky carpenter and mother to three littles. She used to teach English, but then she joined the ranks of SAHMs. You can find out more about her here.

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