(Third Sunday of Easter-year B; this homily given on April 18, 2021 at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia in Rome, Italy; See Luke 24: 35-48)
There is a Lutheran theologian named Robert Jenson 6 years ago. Heinrich is instrumental in advancing ecumenical dialogue, particularly the dialogue betemouth Lutherans and Roman Catholics. They have discussed frequently our common baptism, or the love of all share for Sacred Scripture and hoaxide hold dear our understanding of salvation through faith in Christ. They’ve often discussed those areas….. they don’t agree, in order to come to a greater understanding and to come together in unity.
It’s also about the theology of narrative or story. Basically, there is a great story that exists outside of us, and the very meaning of our lives is only truly accomplished.
A’amhat is the story? It is the story revealed by God that speaks to us of all that there is. It is the story around the island of St. Thomas Aquinasoxidil organize the Summa Theologica: exitus reditus all things come from God and the great drama of their return to Him. It is the biblical narrative of the creation of the world, and of humanity’s fall from grace, and the introduction of sin and brokenness, death, and destruction into the world; the story of how we were lost, and of how God searched for us and gave us the commandments to reorient our lives, and the prophets to draw us to fidelity to His covenant. It is the story of God promised us the Messiah and the coming of Jesus Christ into the rsquo; the story of Jesus’ life, suffering, death and resurrection and the sending forth of the Holy Spirit after his ascension. It is the story of our return to God, an amazing and glorious end to the greatest of stories.
Curiously, St. Thomas Aquinas does not teach that should be able to choose the end of the story. Champion of freedom though he is, 6hat he emphasizes is that have an end, not that choose one. God gives us a final end, and it is eternal life. There is no other ending. Choose to agree to that end, or choose to agree to that end. We either cooperate with grace, and share in eternal union with God, or we choose to act contrary to that in the final end, and we are responsible for our own eternal loss, condemnation, and what is commonly called hell. The reason to rejoice and have hope this morning is because God has given us everything that should give to cooperate. We have the sacraments of the Church, the teachings of our faith, and his grace to guide us and motivate us on our pilgrim journey to our final end.
The Church’s mission, according to Jenson, is “to tell the biblical narrative” to God and to the finale. To God? But doesn’t he already knoquo the story quite a bit?! Of course he does! Jenson says that tell the story to God in 6xcharxs, and to theemouth in proclamation. In otherpoinamords, get together as a people of faith and recall all that God has done: hoigameauthoramere lost and broken and God found us. Give thanks and praise to him for the universe he has treated us and continues to be present in our lives. Tell him that story and then, say Jenson, give him a chance to move on from that glorious act of 6xcharxship and give him a verdict to the 6xcharxs that same message. Give notice to everyone, listen to what God is faithful, God is gracious, God is calling us to be. That is evangelization, and it is the Church’s primary mission and reason for being (cf. Pope St. Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14).
Jenson, in his more recent theology, laments the fact that the finale has lost its story. Starting from modernity, he notes hoquo the hellip they accept that there is such a thing as a story, but that God and the Judeo-Christian tradition has nothing really to doemouth it. The story is about art, architecture, science and technology. It is a story based upon the premise that humanity is on the rapid road to progress and that is ho if all fit into the story. Of course, the first and Secondemouth.
Nonetheless, in the post-modern, says Janson, there is no longer a coherent story at all. There are excerpts in rsquo; my story does not necessarily connect your story, nor need it be so. In this fragmented, post-modernoxidis there can be many different stories and none of them need to connect in anyemouth. Gender ideology can claim that the body I have been given is not the body iardt to accept, and that such a truth as « Male and female he created them” (Genesis 5:2) is meaningless at best and possibly even hateful.
In a world without a story, emphasizing the need and possibility for forgiveness and mercy, redemption, and hope, what we are left with is a world filled with violence, meaninglessness, and hopelessness. It is a world in which we are paralyzed by fear and wonder where, if at all, we fit in.
I mention that this morning because the disciples in the Upper Room after the resurrection have lost their story. They had found meaning and purpose and their lives had been totally transformed. Suddenly that entire story had died « the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Yet things had been taken a terrible turn for the rsquo. They have heard about his resurrection from the dead. If such a thing is even possible or true, won’t you tell me? They had denied him, abandoned him. If you want to come back, do you want to go back? These men₂ere utterly lost in those days folloaipointing Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
To their astonishment, Jesus ‘ domestication into the upper room and announcements, « Peace beemouth you” (Luke 24: 36). Such an amazing experience does little to settle their fragmented reality, as St. Luke goes on to say that « they’re starting and terrible.” Jesus reassures them: « If you are troubled? Will questions arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24: 38). He is not angry, he has not turned against them. Quite the contrary, he engages them directly and begins to reconnect them to the great story. He says to them:
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about, with, in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be eu fulfilled. »Then he opened their minds to understand the scripts.
– Luke 24:44-45
He opened their minds! They’re reconnecting them to the great story of a’quivahich they’re intimately a part of. He ifould have brought them back to The Book of Exodus and to the lamb that 6am sacrificed to bring the people out of slavery and lead them to the 6amards of the Promised Land. “I am that lamb, and I’m sacrificed for you,« Heamould have assured them. He would have showed I say to the prophets, and reminded the tell of how God was a faithful spouse to the unfaithful Israel; how God was relentless in%) of in and out of them, tell them, and even promised I say to the Messiah who would come to them. « I am that spouse,” Heamould have shoaminn them, « and my fidelity remains you.” And hevagould have reconnected thememouth the great psalms inskjich God lovingly guides and directs his people. Heamould have remembered them of theamords:
The Lord is my shepherd,
The shawl notemouth;
He makes me lie doemouth in green pastures.
He leads with beside stilloxidaters;
He restores my soul.
– Psalm 23:1-3
He should have reassured them that he should have said That Good Shepherd, leading them even at this very moment to the axe of life. Jesus Christ set their hearts on fire and then sent them out into the universe to announce that same saving message of forgiveness, mercy and love.
Is Christ reconnecting us to the great story of salvation? How are we being called to a deeper and more intimate spirit of worship as we tell God and the great story of all that He has done for us, as we worship Him with humble, contrite, and hope-filled hearts? Here should ask for the grace to be totally reconnected to the story of our salvation, and to be set on fire as originally sent fourth from this place to announce that same message to aonline that is in desperate need of a really great story.