Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Easter Wednesday

Readings: Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 105; Luke 24:13-35

What would have been the expectations of the cripple at the Beautiful Gate? From day to day what might he have hoped for? A kind word? Some food? Some financial help? We can suppose that whatever his hopes were as he took his accustomed place from day to day, those hopes were within certain limits. He looks to Peter and John for something along these lines, some help, some food, a kind word.

What he does receive from them is far beyond the limits of his hope. What comes about is a radical transformation of his life, beyond what he would have hoped for in a wild dream.

What remained of the expectations of the disciples on the road to Emmaus? They were despondent and dejected, and perhaps it is wrong to think of them now having any expectations. They had hoped, but those hopes had been dashed. What would help now? A listening ear? A kind heart? An encouraging word? How encourage people so deeply disappointed?

They also receive something far beyond the limits of their hope. What comes about is a radical transformation of their lives, beyond anything they were hoping for, beyond anything they could have imagined.

The resurrection of Jesus has implications not just for him but for the community of his disciples. Things happen to them, and through them, beyond anything they might have hoped for even in a wild dream.

The message of Easter teaches us not to set limits to what we hope for. The object of our hope is God and God's creative power is infinite. If we preach the Word, celebrate reconciliation, and gather for the Eucharist, we are joining in actions that imply the possibility of change. And yet one often hears preachers, teachers, priests saying that people cannot change, that many human problems are intractable, that they can only be lived with and never really healed or cured.

Perhaps some problems will not be healed or cured. But we cannot exclude the possibility. Wild dreams are to be entertained during these days, now that we see cripples walking, the deepest despondency transformed, and new life appearing here, there, and God knows where.

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