Acts 2:14, 22-28
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
1 Peter 1:17-21
I have a Jesuit friend who, while pondering life, summed it all up by saying, “There’s more going on than is going on.” Just think about that for a minute or an hour. In most relationships, within each of us, there is this “behind the seems” action. In politics and business, it is assumed that there is more going on than anybody knows.
In God’s relationships with us, there is so much going on besides what we know; perhaps that is faith. Often, when confronted with something such as the Resurrection, we can say that nothing like this could have happened, because we know what’s going on. God is what is going on while things are going on, but we easily can come up with myths and imaginative explanations which flatter our minds and egos. In today’s First Reading from Acts, Peter is telling his Jewish listeners what has been going on for a long time. He tells them a little history of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but then relies on their knowledge and faith in David, their great king.
Peter reviews what a few of the Psalms say about, not David, but Jesus as Messiah. So much of what we hear in this First Reading are proofs from the Jewish prayer book or hymnal, with Peter’s interpretation of how David’s songs and prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus. He is presenting a proof that God has been going on from David’s time with this labor of salvation culminating in the Resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel is Luke’s narration of Jesus’ appearing to two discouraged men walking away from Jerusalem. For Luke, Jerusalem is central for Jesus and His followers. Everything in the Gospel leads Jesus up to the Temple, up to His cross. These two persons are abandoning the city as symbol of their loss of the centrality of Jesus in their lives with His death. Luke continues his theme of Jesus’ doing the finding, being the out-reacher.
While the two think this stranger is the only one who does not know what has been going on, something else is going on as He begins changing their minds and hearts. They are like Thomas of John’s Gospel. They have reports that Jesus’ tomb is empty, but they themselves have not seen or touched the Body. Their expectations prevent their eyes from recognizing Him. So Jesus begins opening their eyes by tracing the history of salvation from Moses to Jesus Himself.
This whole scene has the elements of a liturgy. Jesus is present in the Word which calls the journeyers to a remembering. Then there is the Eucharistic sharing as Jesus presents Himself in the taking of bread, blessing it, breaking it, and giving it to His “companions.” “With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him….” Something was definitely going on, Grace.
The appearance to these men, who were so slow to believe, is really not the main going-on. In a strange way the real “going on” is their not going on, but going back to Jerusalem, back to the community, back to their real journey in faith.
Grace is always appearing even as we walk away, but grace received is always more than personal or private. What is always “going on” is the gathering, the sharing-place” which is so central to Luke’s Gospel. The “breaking of bread” is the central act of the believing community, but only when the gathering is then sent out to journey in faith, individually, but as a blest and shared community.
So we are going on, met by Jesus, recalled to the gathering and sharing-place, and then sent to answer the familiar question, “What’s going on?” We are!
“This jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
is immortal diamond.” G. M. Hopkins, S.J.
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