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The Bible In A Year: Day 114

1 Samuel 1
Psalm 114
Luke 24

1 Samuel 1

Just like many of the other remarkable people in the Old Testament, the story of Samuel begins with a barren woman who is understandably disturbed by her childlessness. Hannah cries to God for a child, and promises to dedicate him to service if granted. So she finds herself with child after some very intense prayers at the tabernacle in Shiloh, and gives birth to the prophet Samuel.

Of course she had no idea he’d become a prophet, but she did give him over to the priests that took care of the tabernacle to be raised in service to God.

Luke 24

Jesus is raised on the first day of the week, being the eighth day, just like the circumcision of a newborn was performed on the eighth day. This symbolizes a new creation, and here God is recreating the world in the new covenant, we are new creations when we rise from the waters of baptism (which represent the grave) to newness of life in Christ.

In Luke the resurrection is discovered by the absence of the body and two men, who were angels, announcing the resurrection to the women that came to anoint him. When the reports reach the others, some run to the tomb to see for themselves.

Then the action shifts to a couple of disciples who are walking from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus. This village was a day’s walk and the two walking are a man called Cleopas and his companion Simon, who are identified by early Christians as the brother of Saint Joseph and his son, who became the second bishop of Jerusalem. If that identity is correct then it’s even more amazing that they didn’t recognize their nephew and cousin who came up and walked with them, but he concealed himself.

Jesus walks and explains the scriptures to them the entire way, what I’ve always considered the worlds greatest homily, and then he joins them for dinner and only then do they recognize him. The text says he was recognized “in the breaking of the bread” and this could mean in the way he took, blessed, broke and gave, to them. Just like he did at the miracles of loaves and fish, and at the last supper, or it could also mean that they recognized him in the bread itself because it became his body just like at the last supper. I like both interpretations personally.

Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table “he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.”

CCC 1347

This road to Emmaus experience is today the outline of our liturgy. We gather with Jesus, we hear the scriptures and am explanation of them, we see the priest break the bread and we receive our Lord in what was moments ago just bread and is now his body.

Cleopas and Simon rush back to Jerusalem and just as they’re telling what happened Jesus appears in the room. Saint Luke’s gospel has something of a summary here, where jesus fills them in on everything that happened and it’s meaning, he opens their minds to understand the scriptures, he gives them a commission to begin spreading this good news in Jerusalem and then all the world, tells them to remain until the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost and then goes out to the Mount of olives and ascends to heaven. This leaves out the 40 days between the resurrection and the ascension but he picks that up in his sequel to his gospel, the Book of Acts, and probably omitted it to give a clear and wrapped up ending right here.

Notably the apostles return to the temple to worship and preach the good news, and that ends this gospel exactly where it opened with Zachariah entering the Holy place to offer incense to the Lord.

1 Samuel 2-3
Psalm 115
Acts 1

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