Sunday, April 30, 2017
Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
I once served on a parish committee that was tasked with developing a comprehensive design for the interior of our new sanctuary. The idea was to plan the entire decor so that all the artistic elements combined -- stained glass, statuary, wall decoration, crucifix -- would create a meaningful space to enhance worship.
During our discussions, some committee members observed how the atmosphere in certain churches seemed to enliven the presence of God. Our design consultant, an accomplished artist in a variety of media, also reminded us about the quality of art to both teach and transport.
Our task turned out to be arduous, partly because of members' differing tastes in art. But mostly we labored over what images to include that would best speak to our worship and enrich the formation of our faith community.
I wish I had paid more attention at the time to the Gospel story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, because it reveals all the elements of God's comprehensive design for our life with him.
In this passage from today's readings, the disciples are confused and having doubts about Jesus after his death.
As their faith appears to be wavering, Jesus explains in detail who he was, why he came and how his resurrection now confirms their beliefs and, moreover, signifies the reality of the world's salvation.
Our worship at Mass effectively mirrors the disciples' experience on the road to Emmaus. Imagine yourself on the road with them that day as you enter the sanctuary for Sunday worship: Needing a boost to your faith, you listen to the Scripture interpreting the teachings of the prophets, reminding you of Jesus' life and ministry and what it meant to you.
Just as your heart begins burning with renewed understanding and inspiration, the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins. You recall the disciples seated at table with Jesus, remember his paschal sacrifice and at the moment of consecration you recognize him in the breaking of the bread.
Our daily lives can easily pull us away from our faith. That's why we are drawn back into church each week, so our hearts will burn again in an atmosphere where we can walk with Jesus and be reassured of his promise.
This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.