All of us struggle with the reality that the experiences of our life may harden our hearts and deafen our ears to God’s truth. We may be similar to the disciples in this past Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 24: 35-48), who were filled with anxiety – until – – the moment “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
Jesus shows them the nail wounds in His hands and feet. He explains to them that the Scriptures teach that we cannot have glory and honor without the willingness to suffer and die to our own sinful will and perceptions.
He teaches them that they need to see the connection between His passion and death with His resurrection. He explains this so that they can understand what He is truly about, and that their mission, “as witnesses to these things” is to go out and preach the truth of His words and resurrection. Jesus explains, if they cooperate with and are open to His teaching, then they will realize that life’s events will shape them into what they are truly meant to be and the Father’s plan will end in glory for them, too.
We can relate the shaping and opening of the disciples’ minds to the creation of a beautiful piece of pottery or a favorite coffee mug or tea cup that we may own. That cup started out as a simple lump of clay. Its creator – the artist – put it on a potter’s wheel, moistened his or her hands, and began to firmly and patiently mold the lump of clay into a cup.
The cup had to be put into a kiln and heated – then taken out, allowed to cool – painted – put back into the kiln again – and then, at the right moment – taken out of the heat and allowed to cool – to eventually be used for the purpose it was created.
The cup – a few days or weeks before – was just a soggy lump of clay – all closed in on itself; but now, after all the pounding, shaping, heat, and stress of its experience – it is open to serve the purpose intended for it by its creator – its ceramic arms now open to embrace and hold what it was intended to receive – and thus, be a useful instrument – a good and faithful servant.
This analogy helps to explain a thread running through the fabric of Holy Scripture, a thread, Jesus probably repeated to His disciples which is from the prophet Jeremiah, it says “As clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand…” (Jer.18.6);
Our creator, God the Father – has spoken to us through His Son and laid His potter’s hands on us – His chosen vessels. We are all lumps of clay. We have all been pounded and shaped on the wheel of life.
We are a people who have been put into the furnace of life’s circumstances, suffered through sickness or various types of torments and troubles, and who sometimes find ourselves hanging on by a mere thread, but with Jesus’ help – in the end – even though we have suffered much – we are made stronger in our faith – and are viewed as beautiful in the eyes of God because we have not given up. The clay of our life has been moistened by God’s Holy Scriptures and Sacraments – and because we have patiently kept the faith – we have not cracked in the heat of the kiln of life.
Like the disciples in today’s Gospel let us be willing during this Easter season, to have our hearts and minds opened, shaped, and molded through the patient and loving hands of Our Lord in His Words and Sacraments. If we allow Him to do this, even though we have experienced the wheel of life and the kiln of adversity, we will emerge as beautiful and faithful servants of our Lord.
Special thanks to http://blog.lablanchepoterie.com/ for providing the image of the potter cutting the cup away from its base.
Copyright © 2012 Deacon Paul O. Iacono All Rights Reserved