We pickup the story of the events of the Resurrection where we left off yesterday in the Gospel, According to Luke. The men from Emmaus recounted to the disciples the story of Jesus breaking bread with them. Jesus appeared to them and said:
“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.”
“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.
Thanks be to God that He loves us so much to give his son for our sins as we continue to celebrate this mystery during the season of Easter.
In between these two quotes from Jesus, Luke inserts what I think is a vital verse in this reading today:
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
For many years, I took the Bible for granted. It was always there, ready for me to jump in and tackle the imagery, the lessons, the Living Word.
I was lazy.
I did not want to devote much (any?) time to understand the written Word of God.
My laziness is amusing and ironic to me because now I cannot begin to express the transformation in my faith that came from a daily devotional reading (and writing about) the scriptures.
This verse – that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45) is similar to one from yesterday’s reading when the two disciples said, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
After writing a couple hundred reflections on God’s word it was through other means that I came to understand something. There are times when the Holy Spirit guides my thoughts and fingers as I write. Writing is effortless and I have a palpable sense of the presence of our Lord. Reader comments often give me a barometer if something special may have happened.
Other times, I write what I think is a great post but I was not guided by the Holy Spirit and the message does not resonate with readers. In these examples, I inserted my own agenda into my reading of the scripture, instead of prayerfully listening to the message God intends for me to receive and share.
It was Father Peter (a priest recently assigned to my parish) who decoded this phenomenon. He talked about another priest who always prayed before he prepared his homily. One day, there was a nobleman who the priest thought should be converted and so the priest worked overtime on his homily and did not take the time to pray before he delivered it. The priest delivered a ho-hum homily and the nobleman was not impressed or converted. The priest realized that he must allow the Holy Spirit to open his mind to understand (and communicate) the scriptures.
The priest recognized his error and vowed to always pray before he preached. Luckily for him (and the nobleman), the nobleman returned to another mass and was moved to conversion by the homily of the priest.
In retelling this story, Fr. Peter did not mention these two verses from Luke. I am going to make a leap of faith and suggest that prayer is the key that opens our minds to understand the scriptures.
So, I pray that we can remember this important lesson: that before we try to encounter God through scripture, we spend time in prayer in order to prepare for our hearts to be opened. Lectio Divina is an excellent method for this practice. If you know of other means, please share them in the comments section.
Have a blessed night and I pray for each of you.
Enjoy these related posts from cinhosa:
Enjoy these related articles:
- We are not called to simply learn the scriptures… (coffeenotallowed.wordpress.com)
- “Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
- “Did not our hearts burn while he opened to us the scriptures” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
- “The Lord has truly been raised …” (tvaraj2inspirations.wordpress.com)
- Praying With Mary (americancatholic.org)