Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17 - 1 Pt 3:15-18 - Jn 14:15-21
In the second reading, we are instructed to always be ready to give a reason for our hope. This is after being commanded to sanctify Christ as God in our hearts.
Over the past few months, I have heard multiple stories of horror, anguish, and despair. Sr. Helen Prejean, who became famous for her work with people sentenced to death, shared her own experiences of accompanying people who have done terrible things, the families of victims, and those who were wrongly convicted. As humorous as she is, her work is serious and has serious consequences. I also heard the story of a young man in Guatemala who was baptized by Blessed Fr. Stanley Rother. His childhood experiences of violence and being part of a parish where the leader was martyred is shocking and saddening. Nearly every day, I opened my email to a NY Times alert about yet another mass shooting. Multiple students that I work with have experienced the death of a family member or peer in the last few months.
What does this have to do with hope? Christ is the reason for our hope in the midst of these tragedies. The humanity of God in Christ, who also experienced loss, injustice and torture, like us, welcomes the worst experiences, but doesn’t leave us there. As the second reading continues, following Christ and living in hope requires gentleness, clarity, reverence and good conscience. This hope that we have can and will change the world, so that maybe, in the future, there won’t be senseless acts of violence, deep sadness, and needless loss of life. Jesus the Christ died through violence and was raised, then sent the Spirit to be with us. That is our hope - that God will never abandon us and calls us to recognize and reflect God in our midst.
Sr. Jennifer Schaaf, OP