Wednesday within the Octave of Easter

They were filled with amazement and astonishment. (Acts 3:10)

Life can certainly be messy at times. Perhaps there are times when we feel like this fellow at the gate: unable to move forward, begging our way through each day, not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Or perhaps we feel like the two disciples in today’s Gospel reading: heartbroken that the man they thought was the Messiah had been killed on a cross. But just as the apostles healed the beggar and just as Jesus showed himself to the two disciples, we can trust that God is still with us, even in the messiest parts of our lives. The real question is, “How do we find him?”

Today’s readings offer two hopeful suggestions: share your burdens, and look for him in the people around you.

The two traveling disciples shared their disappointments with the stranger who walked beside them. They didn’t know it was Jesus, but he was so openhearted toward them that they felt safe enough to pour out their hearts to him. And having done so, they were also open to hearing him as he replied. There’s something about opening ourselves to other people that makes us more open to the Lord’s presence and his comfort.

Similarly, the first reading tells us that it’s okay to feel helpless, crumpled up outside of a beautiful gate. Just don’t forget to look up every now and then to see if God is sending someone to you to help. Surely the beggar wasn’t expecting Peter and John to be vessels of God’s power. But that’s part of the adventure of Christianity—you never know whom the Lord will use!

Don’t think that you are supposed to take up this Christian life all alone. The Church is called the body of Christ for a reason—you are surrounded by brothers and sisters eager to help. In fact, that’s where you’re most likely to find God’s presence and comfort—in the people around you. They may have “neither silver nor gold” to share with you (Acts 3:6). They may seem just as helpless as you, but that doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s the people closest to us, as well as the people most like us, who can help us the most. Besides, we’re all needy and hurting in different ways. So why not try to help each other out?

“Lord, teach me how to find you in the people around me.”

Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9
Luke 24:13-35