Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
What did those apostles eat for breakfast that morning? Was there some special food they ate that suddenly gave them such courage? In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see the same friends of Jesus who had cowered in the upper room in the days after the crucifixion. But now they are bold and speak out with such courage on the steps of the temple, even rejoicing when they are whipped by the religious authorities for “proclaiming the good news of Jesus, the Messiah.”
I can always identify with the apostles in the earlier gospel stories because they seem so human, running in fear, asking dumb questions and bickering among themselves. But now this courage? What happened to my terrified friends? Who rejoices in being whipped?
Maybe the answer is later in today’s readings - in the gospel, where we read the story of the loaves and fishes, and the feeding of the five thousand. When this huge throng of people kept following Jesus, out of town, around the shore of the sea and up the mountain, they trusted that somehow they would be fed. They came unprepared, knowing only that they had to listen to what he taught them. And he loved them with tender care. He fed them so lavishly with the simple food at hand that there were baskets of it left over. He showed them how to pray, how to give thanks to God and how to trust.
Maybe that’s the special breakfast the apostles had in the first reading. It might have been nothing more than gathering together and praying in the morning, telling each other stories, remembering “the time Jesus fed the crowd of five thousand and wanted us to trust him…?” Maybe what they remembered was how many times Jesus has said to them – and us – “I will be with you; do not be afraid.” Why is that such a difficult lesson for me to learn?
Jesus asks us to trust in him and I balk at it. I suspect that deep down, I think I could do better on my own, without having to trust in Jesus or anyone else. Such arrogance has me hiding in the upper room of my soul, afraid and unwilling to be fed by Jesus in the meal he so lavishly serves for me.
Help me, Jesus. Teach me to trust in you. Feed me with
your words and let me believe in the trust and courage you offer me.
Help me to stand on the front steps of the temple and proclaim the good
news, side by side with your apostles. I know you love me and all
of my fearful weaknesses, just as you loved the apostles as they shook
with fear. Teach me as you taught them. Let me be aware and
awake as you touch my life, my soul and heal me of my fears.
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