First Reading- Acts of the Apostles 14:21-27
Second Reading- Book of Revelation- 21:1-5
How do we respond to hatred and hostility?
How can love conquer fear?
How can we imitate the love which Jesus showed?
What is unconditional in our lives?
Challenging questions were raised by the readings for this Fifth Sunday of Easter.
In the first reading, Paul and Barnabas proclaimed the good news and converted considerable numbers. They called upon these new disciples to be strong in their new faith through perseverance, especially in the face of hardships. For me, this call for perseverance is what the people of Ukraine are responding to today and our solidarity with them calls us as well.
As the Psalm reminds us God is gracious and merciful…compassionate towards all. Should not our goal be the same to strive to love all in merciful ways with grace and compassion? In this way, we can be assured that all our works give thanks to God.
How we long for the new Jerusalem when tears will be no more. The second Reading calls for us to participate in making all things new. We need to strive to create a new world order in which we recognize God’s indwelling in each of us. We need to bring into existence a world in which the powerful who generate havoc and turbulence are disarmed and set on a new path towards peace. Is this an impossible quest? No, not if we remember that with God all things are possible.
That possibility resides in today’s Gospel where Jesus commands us to love one another. This is what needs to be unconditional in our lives- love. Not our limited version of love that is only given to those we care about or agree with but the love of Jesus that had no conditions attached. This is what we need to strive to imitate, to love beyond hatred, hostility, and fear. We need the grace to pray for the conversion of those who trespass against us and trust the new Jerusalem is within our reach.
Sr. Joan Agro, OP