thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Friday of the Octave of Easter
Readings may be found here
Stories are the most powerful means of communication. Think about it, you read or listen to news “stories” every day. Stories can leave us thinking even of fictional characters as friends and companions. If you want to explain yourself to another, what do you do? You tell “your story.”
Large parts of the Holy Scriptures are cast as stories. Sometimes they are fictional, think of the parable of the prodigal, but powerful nonetheless. Other times, we hear the stories of real people such as Moses, the prophets, or the disciples of Jesus.
And of course, the gospels themselves are narratives – stories. They offer us the Story – the accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the Scriptures make it clear that His Story is in some sense our story.
In the passage from John today, we see a kind of layering of stories. In this third appearance of the Risen Jesus to His disciples, Jesus is seated by a charcoal fire – a clear reminder of the last time Peter found himself by a charcoal fire in the courtyard of the High Priest. Now as Peter rushes towards the Lord rather than away, he will find that Jesus will rewrite Peter’s story of denial as a moment of conversion and renewal.
Likewise the passage from Acts reveals a similar layering. We saw over the last two days that Peter and John have made the healing work of Jesus their own, restoring the lame man in the “name of Jesus.” Now we see that as was the case for Jesus, this good work provokes a mixed response. These men, like the Lord, will experience rejection and persecution. His Story is now their story. And this truth offers meaning and hope in the midst of struggle.
In our struggles, we look to the Story of the One Who offered His life’s blood to set us free. With eyes of faith, we see Him beside us in our moments of despair and pain. And we believe that His triumph is our triumph, His life our life. Let His Story be our story and we will acclaim with the Psalmist: “His mercy endures forever!”