Just a Word – Fifth Sunday of Easter 2020

Just a word… Fifth Sunday of Easter… May 10, 2020

Soup and stones…that’s one way to sum up the first two readings this Sunday. The reading from the Acts of the Apostles relates an issue in the early church, one of favoritism and discrimination. Jerusalem was home to many widows who found support in the Christian community’s establishment of what was essentially a soup kitchen. The effort went well at first, but eventually some of the Hebrew widows wanted to be served first, didn’t want to wait in line, wanted preferential treatment. What started out as a good thing, a sign of what the followers of Christ stood for, became instead oppressive, a countersign, a scandal. It broke the peace and bred hatred. Complaints grew louder until the disciples realized that the situation had become a stumbling block in the path of following Jesus. They discerned that instead of stumbling over the stone in their path, they might let it remind them of the person on whom their faith was based, the cornerstone, as in the First Letter from Peter. They might have intuited that the stones with which they were supposed to build the kingdom were not division and strife, but compassion, forgiveness and peace.

So, they arranged for a better division of labor and appointed some people, deacons, to be responsible for the work of charity, for the impartial distribution of food. The result was that once again, new life, resurrection, occurred in their community.

What about us? What are we to do with the stones we come across in our lives…the fears, the concerns, the unfairness, the devastating illness? Are we willing to remember who Jesus was, what he said and what he did, as we deal with whatever rock is placed in our path? Are we willing to allow God an opportunity to work through us to make the way clear, to give witness of God’s presence in our midst?

Perhaps the answer can be found in our wondrous Gospel from John today, in which Jesus tells his followers, us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” It seems that most of the rocks that stand in the path of following the Lord’s way are composed of one thing…fear…whether of the future, the job, or the corona virus. Whatever particular rock is blocking your becoming whom you were created to be, and accomplishing that work that is yours alone to do, remember the words Jesus said so often in the Gospels…Be not afraid; I am with you always. With that message in your heart, who knows what situation you might play a role in transforming into new life, into resurrection.

Check out https://youtu.be/RF0DlpFOoBg

“Be Not Afraid by Catholic Artists at Home”

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