Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 7, 2023

Sister Evangeline Salazar, OSB shares a reflection on the scripture readings: Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33; Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12

A human being is part of a whole,

called by us “Universe,”

a part limited in time and space.

We experience ourselves,

our thoughts, and feelings,

as something separate from the rest—

a kind of optical delusion

of our consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us,

restricting us to our personal desires and affections,

for a few people near us.

Our task must be to free ourselves

from this prison

by widening our circle of compassion

to embrace all living creatures,

and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Albert Einstein, 1879-1955

Jesus’ mission was to choose and form

a small community of men and women

whose mission was to spread His word

to the ends of the Earth.

In forming this small community of diverse believers,

the Apostles encountered several problems.

To find solutions, the leaders held

what we might call a synod;

they gathered the community to decide

how to resolve each problem.

By widening their circle of compassion,

speaking up and listening to one another,

they formed a Christian community of believers.

Pope Francis, in Fratelli tutti, reminds us,

“When conflicts in community are not resolved

but kept hidden…silence can lead to complicity

in grave misdeeds and sins.

Authentic reconciliation

does not flee from conflict, but is achieved in conflict,

resolving it through dialogue and open,

honest, and patient negotiation.”

In Acts, the widows and their supporters

spoke out

because the needs of the poor and vulnerable

were being ignored

by the rich and powerful.

The leaders took the problem to the community,

and as a sign of the validity of the complaint

they came up with a solution

they could live with.

Pope Francis believes

authentic community calls us to

genuine dialogue: looking at the other with care,

listening deeply,

touching the other, speaking,

cultivating compassion,

and creating a culture of encounter.

Sister Mary McGlone believes

we cannot build community without encounter.

we cannot be the chosen race, a royal priesthood,

a spiritual house,

without opening ourselves

to one another,

especially in our differences.

Jesus calls us to enter into Him;

“May all be one, as you father are in me,

and I in you, that they may be one in us.

This is our call!  Are we up to it?