On the Road Together for May 5&6
On the Road Together
the 6th Sunday of Easter
by Tracy Rodenborn, Director of RCIA
...not that we have loved God,
but that He loved us...
In his homily a week ago, Father Samuel encouraged us to make sure we find ways to encounter God in Sacred Scripture more and more in our lives. He suggested that as a beginning, we focus on five books of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Acts of the Apostles. This weekend, we have another spectacular reading from Acts. You may recall that the Easter Season, is the only time in the Church Year that the first reading is not from the Old Testament. In this season it is from the Acts of the Apostles. As the second volume of Luke’s work, Acts gives us profound insight into the early church as it began to spread after Jesus’ death and Resurrection. It is invigorating to encounter the Book of Acts in the Easter Season and the reading we have this weekend is no exception to the beauty and power of this book of the Bible.
Taken from Acts 10, this weekend’s first reading is the ending in a longer episode where Peter has encountered a Gentile, Cornelius, and his family who desire to enter into this new Christ movement. But there is one big problem – they are not circumcised Jews. Therefore, it was not permissible for Peter and his crew to even visit them, for they were unclean. But God was doing something new in the church, and Peter and the others became eyewitnesses to the “astounding” work of God. Because Peter was open to the Holy Spirit, and through his prayer and preparation, he comes to see the work of God was something other than he had ever known: even Gentiles were invited into Christ’s church. How amazing is this passage: “The circumcised believers who accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles.” Peter proclaims, “In truth, I have come to see that God shows no partiality.”
This is no small change for the early Jewish Christians: the purity laws they followed were how they both showed their fidelity and stayed true to the covenant relationship with God. To accept Gentiles to baptism and therefore into the Body of Christ was an astonishing development in the early Church. The work of God in the Church was something other than what they had previously known. As chapter 10 of Acts attests, the work of the Holy Spirit, holy encounters with “the other,” and Peter’s prayer life and discipleship, all had a role in these major developments in the early church.
The leaders of the church at its beginnings become witnesses early on to the four marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic.
do not make the church one, the church is one because the bonds of oneness come from the source and founder of the church who is one. It is not
own virtue and efforts that make the church holy. The church is holy because Christ’s love is the holiness of the church. And the church is not catholic, universal, because
had a vision for it to be. The church is catholic because of the love of God that shows no partiality. From the very beginning, they find out that it is not
church they are founding and spreading, it is indeed Christ’s church that is founded on them that will always carry the apostolic charge to love as Christ loves.
We, too, can be astounded by what God is doing in our church! We, too, can allow ourselves to see that the church is something other than what we expect or think it to be. Perhaps it is time for us to jump in so we see the new things Christ is doing in our church here at Emmaus and the worldwide Catholic church. As we reflect and pray with the disciples about the four marks of our church, may we come to see how they are continually being reflected and perfected in our own community and lives. Because we believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church – and the love of Christ from which all these gifts flow.
Readings for the 4rd Sunday of Easter, May 5&6:
Sent by Beverly Aviles on Thursday, May 3 at 3:06PM