The church throughout all of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.~ Acts 9:31
Blessings to you on this Monday morning! This morning I am listening to the birds outside my window and watching the morning sky get brighter by the moment... my favorite way to start the day.
A few weeks ago I was asked to share a reflection on the website for Giving Voice. Giving Voice is a national organization for women religious ages 50 and younger. It's somewhat like a think tank, but more. I encourage you to visit their website http://www.giving-voice.org/.
I'd like to share with you the reflection I wrote this morning for Giving Voice...
Each year during the Easter season we reflect on the nascent church as presented in the Acts of the Apostles. We consider missionary efforts, growth, persecution, the power of the Spirit and the ideal community that shares all in common and no one goes without. And although the readings are the same, I find that my reflections are quite different each year.
The quote above comes from Sunday’s first reading. It struck a stronger chord with me this year than in any other year. Consider our world, our Church, our communities. One could hardly say that we are at peace. We live in a violent world. We are a Church divided, mostly along partisan political lines. This was the focus of the homily preached at the university chapel in which our community celebrates Sunday Eucharist.
The post-resurrection Christ says to the disciples and to us continually, “Peace be with you.” How? At times peace seems elusive and idealistic. It depends, however, how one defines peace. The early Church was not without its own in fighting – look at Peter and Paul – or without being misunderstood and persecuted. And yet, we are told they were at peace.
I believe there’s a reason why during this season we have our Gospel readings taken from John. In these readings is found a key to this peace.
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit… will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid…. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me…. As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love… This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
Let us, then, root ourselves deeply in Christ that we might act in love. Though we may disagree and find very little common ground with some, may we not find ourselves discouraged or afraid of moving forward in love. This is the only path to peace.
Besides this reflection, I have much to share with you all about the goings on in my life... its blessings and lessons. However, that will have to wait for another day. Perhaps later this week?
Many blessings to all who read this,Sr. N