The disciples did not know that it was Jesus walking with them. They told him how sad they were that Jesus had been killed.
They did not understand that Jesus had risen.Then Jesus said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have declared! The Messiah had to suffer these things and then enter into his glory.’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he opened up to them the things the Bible told about himself.
It’s a bit difficult to open up the Bible if you never open the Bible! But I don’t think it’s fair to accuse these two disciples of never opening the Bible, no! Jesus knows that they do read the words in the Bible, but he wants to open their hearts and their minds to understand the Bible in a new way.
Open hearts and open minds lead to open ears and open eyes. Open to read the Bible in what we see and hear around us. Let us listen today to our fellow walkers; can we have a laugh with them? Dennis was laughing and joining in when we saw the ducks on Tuesday and joined in with my quacking at them. That was more fun with two.
It is foolish playing at ducks, perhaps, but the disciples’ foolishness is the way in to their hearts that works for Jesus. I think he wants us in L’Arche to be like the prophets. They often did silly things that made people think about their lives. Some of the things we do may seem silly to other people, but we know they are important.
Is it foolish to spend four days walking from Dover to Canterbury? Saint Paul said, ‘We are fools for Christ’s sake.’(1 Corinthians 4:10)
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
Image credit: La Franceschina (detail), c. 1474, Biblioteca Augusta, Perugia, Italy. artist unknown.
“. . . A man like St. Francis of Assisi, for instance. What does he really mean? . . . A complete break with the pattern of history. . . . A man born out of due time. A sudden, unexplained revival of the primitive spirit of Christianity. The work he began still continues. . . . But it is not the same. The revolution is over. The revolutionaries have become conformists. The little brothers of the Little Poor Man are rattling alms boxes in the railway square or dealing in real estate to the profit of the order. [. . .] Of course, that isn’t the whole story. They teach, they preach, they do the work of God as best they know, but it is no longer a revolution, and I think we need one now.” —Morris West 
I hope these meditations can help reignite the Franciscan revolution, for that is what it was—and will be again. We are extremely blessed to be living in the time of a pope who most beautifully exemplifies Franciscan life (even though he is officially a Jesuit), because it is so much harder to do in our time. Pope Francis shows us that the Franciscan vision is possible at every level and in every age. Not only did he take the name Francis, but he seems so eager to proclaim both the “foolishness” and the wisdom of the Gospel to every level of society. He has the passion, love, and urgency of St. Francis himself and has moved the papacy from the palace to the streets.
I hope these reflections will help us recognize one helpful truth: There is a universal accessibility, invitation, and inclusivity in an authentic Franciscan spirituality. It surpasses the boundaries of religion, culture, gender, ethnicity, era, class, or any measure of worthiness or education. Like the Incarnation itself, the Franciscan reading of the Gospel “brings everything together, in the heavens and on the earth, behind Christ who is leading the way and in whom we are all claimed as God’s own” (Ephesians 1:10-11).
This is not an elitist journey, not a separatist or clerical journey. It is not based in asceticism or superiority but in the elements that are universally available to all humans: nature, embodiment, solidarity with the necessary cycle of both life (“attachment”) and death (“detachment”), the democracy of love, and most especially with a God “who is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart” (Deuteronomy 30:14). This is what divine grace is—always given unawares and unearned and everywhere.
Rebuilding Christianity “From the Bottom Up”
Drawing from his own Franciscan heritage and other wisdom traditions, Richard Rohr reframes neglected or misunderstood teachings to reveal the foundations of contemplative Christianity and the universe itself: God as loving relationship.
Each week of meditations builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time! Watch a short introduction to the theme “From the Bottom Up” (8-minute video)—click here. If you’ve missed earlier messages, explore the online archive.
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