Nothing to Give But a Gift

When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Acts 3:1-10

The description of the encounter at “The Beautiful Gate” between the crippled man and Peter and John in the first reading on Wednesday of Easter Week reminds us that physical things, treasures, perhaps even necessities, cannot replace the gift of love. The man, crippled from birth, now walked and accompanied the Apostles to the temple, praising God. Those who knew the man before praised what they saw after the miracle, in Christ’s name. The Gospel reading is the encounter of the disciples with the “stranger” on the road to Emmaus, the “stranger” claiming to know nothing of the momentous events in Jerusalem, until Jesus reveals Himself, and all becomes clear to his faithful.

While I, and my faculty colleagues, truly miss the personal interaction with our students and with each other, we’re heartened by their enthusiasm and persistence, some who face great challenges being able to participate in online classes. What we have all been able to birth, nurture, and grow, is a “new” interaction, one that values each person’s contribution on screen. We have adapted. We are still working through digital challenges. We face issues in our homes that may impact, maybe imperil, success. We are, through all this, a faith filled learning community, which depends on each of us presenting ourselves each day as a gift to each other.

What I hope, what is my prayer, is that, as the restrictions on movement and activities are modified, there might be a new way of relationships. Perhaps, the need/want for “stuff” might be moved aside for the need and want for the daily gift of God’s grace, shared with those who are closest to us and, yes, to someone whom we don’t know, but needs our gift of “us” in the most important way, at this most important time.

Michael Throop