Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2: 4-9; John 14:1-12
Today’s Scripture Readings emphasize some of the choices required of us as Christians as we follow the Risen Christ in hopes He will lead us and guide us in our daily lives and the challenges that we each face.
In the First Reading from Acts, Luke presents the dilemma the Apostles found themselves in between preaching the Word and direct service to the needy – in this case, the widows within the early Church community.
As the fledgling Church grew, so did the works necessary to meet both the spiritual and physical needs of its members. It was not a matter of choosing which was more important, but rather figuring out how both could be sufficiently addressed. The duty of the Church community is to serve both the Ministries of the Word and the Ministries of Service to the Needy. For us today, perhaps we can find a model in Sacred Activism, coined by the modern day mystic, teacher and writer, Andrew Harvey. Sacred Activism calls us to have passion for God and passion for Justice. Together , they form the fire that can help us create a new world order – one that Christ speaks of so often.
We are reminded in the letter of Peter that we are “chosen and precious in the sight of God,” called to be “living stones,” stones that are essential to form the structure of this new world order, this new community that Jesus has come to inaugurate. It should be very heartening for us to see the many people and very diverse groups of believers who have banded together in common causes to address the many injustices that still plague our planet. Our choices matter, even in the small arenas of our personal lives.
We live in an uncertain world. Often our security is threatened and we may worry about what the future holds. War, increasing violence, global warming, terrorism and a myriad of other dangers loom before us. They often rob us of peace of mind and peace of heart. The Apostles in the early Church also found themselves in an “uncertain world” as they faced an unknown future in this week’s Scripture from Jesus’ Farewell Discourse in John’s Gospel. Jesus, realizing that they feel lost and afraid, gives a consoling message: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me.” Perhaps the message is that we cannot afford to focus on our fears of the unknown future, on all that may “trouble” us, but we must focus on our faith.
Jesus, you are “the way, the truth and the life.” Give us the courage we need this day and always to believe that you accompany us, strengthen us and send us to be the “living stones” that are building a future of hope.
Sister Diane Forrest, OP