for Sunday, May 5, 2013
Today the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, begins to tell us
of the challenges in the early Christian community. It is not easy for any
community to begin to change, even if those changes are clearly a part of
the community. We sense the same thing today, in our own time. Some
people want changes and other people want no changes. Yet, even in the
early Church, there were ways for the Christian community to recognize a
call of the Holy Spirit.
Even in the early Church, not everyone accepted authority. Why should we
expect it to be different today? We should not. Today some people want
changes in morality, others want changes in the priesthood, others want
changes in how the Church is organized, etc. This cannot surprise us.
Just as the early Christian community had a recognized structure by which
changes could happen and be acknowledged, so also today we have such
structures. No one should be surprised when the authority in the Church
asks for change or when the authority in the Church tells us that no change
will happen or that no change is possible in certain areas.
In the Gospel of John today, Jesus tells us: Peace I leave with you; my
peace I give to you. This peace is a sign of the presence of the Holy
Spirit. It is one of the ways for us to recognize that God is at work.
When we find people agitating the Church and disrupting the peace of the
Church, we can be sure that it is not the Holy Spirit. We need to wait in
patience until peace returns once more before decisions should be made.
This is true in our personal lives as well. The whole tradition of
spiritual discernment invites us to seek peace before making any major
decision in our lives. If the Church can live in that way and if we can
live in that way, then we can hear the Holy Spirit.
When we have no peace and only conflicts, then no decision should be make
in terms of changing things or directions or major elements of our lives or
of Church practice. Instead, we should begin to pray for peace so that any
decision can clearly be made in the presence of the Holy Spirit and by
those who role it is to make such decisions.
The Book of Revelations reminds us today that the Church is built on the
foundation of the Apostles. This is a reminder of authority as service in
the Church. Sometimes we don't trust those who serve us as authority in
the Church. If we do not trust, then we must pray: for those who serve us
in roles of authority, for those who need care and for the Church as
May the Holy Spirit come on us all so that we can be a strong community in
the Lord, giving witness to God's love.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 15.1-2, 22-29
Second Reading: Revelation 21.10-14, 22-23
Gospel: John 14.23-29
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: