LET YOUR FACE SHINE ON US, O LORD!
Catholic Homily /Sunday Reflection /Sunday Worship Guide
3rd Sunday of Easter(B)
April 26, 2009
There are just things and events that we can’t seem to have enough of. We talk about them endlessly. We tell and retell such stories. We rehash them in our minds and hearts. And the mouth just cannot keep itself shut. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!
The opening line of today’s Gospel passage seems no different… “The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.” The event was simply too much to contain, too powerful to simply sweep under the rug of one’s daily forgetfulness. No… that singular manifestation of the Risen Lord was simply something worth recounting, retelling and reliving.
Discoveries and insight come with “heartsight.” A heart that loves is never far from serendipity and intimate understanding. Visions are not very far either from reflective and loving discourse. When one reminisces, recounts, retells and relives, the Lord, who is the object of one’s reflective discourse and discursive meditation does come to reveal himself. It was in such a moment of animated and passionate discussion of disciples who recount “what they have seen and heard,” that Jesus answered the equally passionate plea of the same disciples echoed in today’s responsorial psalm: “Lord, let your face shine on us!”
We are these same disciples who now plead with him, as they did of old: “Lord, let your face shine on us!”
The Lord, indeed, answers our prayers. But he does so when we do our part, when we pitch in our little share in this wonderful exchange of love called salvation history. The Lord lets his presence “shine” on us when we are busy “recounting,” when we ourselves are involved in telling other people “what we have seen and what we have heard.” The Lord lets his face shine on us, when we, indeed, are busy making him known to others, when we are actively engaged in this personal search for him, as did his disciples. These disciples, who gathered together in the upper room, as much out of fear, as of a burning desire to reflect together on all the events that happened. It was in such a reflective mood that the Risen Lord showed himself to them.
Surely, this speaks to us all and the half-hearted prayer we make to the Risen Lord: “Let your face shine on us, O Lord.”
Do we really mean what we say? Let your face shine on us, O Lord! But please do not take away the noise of our everyday life. Do not take away our TV time, and the so many hours we spend watching telenovelas. Let your face shine on us, Lord, but not during the times we are busy gossiping, complaining, and tearing at one another. Let your face shine on us, O Lord, but not during my leisure time, not during the time I spend catching up with the “latest developments” and all that “breaking news” stuff from cable TV. Let your face shine on us, O Lord, but please do not make me teach religion, do not make me sound so pious for fear of offending my friends who do not want to hear about God and talk of moral rules at any time outside of Church. Business is business, after all… and no one should be preaching to us outside of that one-hour weekly appointment with the Lord in church. Let your face shine on me, O Lord, but please, not when I am busy at work, when I am just about ready to strike a deal with people who are just as ungodly as I have become – that is, if I were to be honest with myself!
Honesty… it basically means meaning what I say. Today, I prayed with all the rest in Church: “Lord, let your face shine on us!” Let me see you, Lord… let me feel you, and touch you … let me be filled with the glory of your presence in our midst.
At Mass today, we cannot but see him, feel him and touch him… that is, if we mean what we do and say in the liturgical assembly. In this assembly, we “recount,” we hear, and we proclaim “what we all have seen and heard,” and we do the breaking of the bread “in memory of him” risen once and for all for our sins and our salvation.
No longer is it a prayer of request that we now dwell on primarily, but a declaration of our firm belief and conviction: “Lord, we touch you today.” “We have seen the Lord!”