Today’s Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
Faith isn’t easy, nor is it simple. Today’s reading reminds us of that. It also refutes two ideas that are often put forth by some Christians.
First is the principle of sola scriptura, that the Bible alone is required for salvation and holiness.
The two men who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus knew scripture and personally knew Jesus before his resurrection. This passage emphasizes that they did not know that the man with whom they were discussing scripture was Jesus until he joined them in the breaking of the bread. Nor did they understand the true meaning of the scripture they were discussing until they had broken bread with him.
Later he said to his disciples, “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.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
In fact, I would suggest that the Gospels as a whole are a cautionary tale about reliance on scripture alone. Much of Jesus’ preaching was aimed at a people who knew scripture well but did not appreciate its true meaning.
Today’s reading also provides a challenge to those we encounter who suggest that to be a committed Christian, one need only have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” In this passage, we see that the handful of people who knew and followed Christ in his time on earth required Christ’s intervention before they fully understood who he was and why he was here.
How many times in the Gospels did Jesus have to rebuke the apostles because they did not yet understand who he was? Who on earth had a more personal relationship with Jesus than Peter? Yet even for Peter, it was some time after the resurrection before he truly understood who Jesus really was.
Today’s reading reminds us that a balance of factors informs our faith. Reading and understanding scripture is crucial, as is cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus. This passage reminds us that the sacraments, the Eucharist in particular, are critical as well.
Many key events in the Gospels describe how Jesus encounters people on roads, streets, and pathways. There are also key events that occur indoors. How do these “room” and “road” events tend to differ?
Let me find wisdom in scripture, faith in my relationship with you, and prudence through the practice of my faith and participation in your sacraments.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Kirk Whitney