Psalms 118:1-2, 4, 22-24, 25-27
In the first reading we hear of the teaching and healing done in the Lord’s name after the resurrection of Jesus. Peter and John are questioned and imprisoned because of their preaching and healing. “By what power or in whose name have men of your stripe done this?” “Filled with the Spirit,” they answer that it is through “the power of that name (Jesus)” that men are healed. Some in the crowd believe, some do not.
The second reading is the familiar scene in which Jesus appears to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. The disciples have been fishing long and hard, but catching nothing. Jesus appears and suggests that they try a different, but obvious approach, “cast your net off to the starboard side and you will find something.” And, they do! They catch more fish than they can haul aboard. It is at this point in the scene that one of the disciples recognizes the man on the shore as Jesus.
What catches my imagination is the irony within these two readings. In both readings we have the blind and the seeing. There are characters that are “filled with the Lord” and know it and live it. There are those who witness the power of the spirit in their lives or in the lives of others and still are blind to its source. And there are those who live the power of the Spirit, who are at times also blind to its source.
I would like to share with you a true story told to me by a college student.
One cold and very rainy night on my way home from work I was approached
by a homeless man who was begging for money. I asked him what he wanted
the money for. Without actually looking up at me he mumbled, “To
get something to eat, I’m hungry”. “I’m hungry also, lets go get
something to eat.” “No” he mumbled, I would rather wait for “the
girl” inside the store who is going to return with change. I challenged
him, “you know she is not going to come back with money. You know that,
don’t you? So if you are hungry let’s go get something to eat, what would
you like?” This got his attention and he look up at me. In his doubt,
caution and unbelief, he asked, “Who ARE you?” and “Are you for real?”
When we entered the pizza shop all conversation gradually stopped and all eyes focused on us. The fellow behind the counter looked to me for direction. I looked to my friend, “Sir, what would you like?” Meekly he ordered a small pizza with just two toppings. Hey, “I thought you were hungry, and wanted lots of toppings?” So I changed the order to “large” and he added all the toppings he wanted. It was really kind of neat! He loved it. Seeing a sign offering "2 for the price of 1," I told the fellow behind the counter, “No, make that 2 large pizzas!” While we waited for our order, we chatted while the rest of the people in the shop listened, smirked, smiled and questioned the scene taking place in their midst. My friend didn’t seem to notice. He told me about his family, a wife and two sons whom he had left. He talked of wanting more for his family and of his hopes and dreams for them, but he had little in the way of practical plans or obvious options. He kept asking me, “Who are you?”
When our orders arrived, we shared a piece or two together. I asked him if he had someone to share the rest of his meal with. “Yes, my friend and he is really hungry too.” “Where is he?” I asked. “In my cubby” was his reply. He lived in a cardboard box with his friend. It was a rainy night and he had left his sick friend in a relatively dry place with the intent of returning with something to eat.
We parted company with the promise that if we should see each other on the street we would again share a meal. We parted in the rain. He left to share the rest of his meal with his sick, hungry friend and I to share the rest of mine with my housemates.
I offer this to you in the spirit of the resurrected Jesus, The Christ.
May your Easter season be alive with the presence of the Spirit.
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