Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 6: 1-7; 1 Peter 2: 4-9; John 14: 1-12
“About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked.”
What seemed to have been a minor domestic detail in the rapid expansion of the early church in Jerusalem, the neglected welfare of Hellenists coming from beyond the Jewish faith, was a timely warning that the tendency to disintegrate into factions would be manifested in every generation of the Church.
Sinful humanity clings to the familiar securities of origin and culture, frequently overlooking the needs that lie beyond its narrow circle. Thus starving widows, outsiders to Judaism, were overlooked at the daily distribution of food in that early Jerusalem Church.
It is a timely reminder that in the present world crisis, those who are likely to suffer the most, the poorest from the most underdeveloped nations, must not be neglected by the more advanced. It was such as these that Jesus identified as his brothers and sisters.
John’s Gospel takes us to an invitation that reaches beyond the divisions and factions that so easily divide. It was a reassurance spoken by Jesus on the night before he was to suffer and die, thereby embracing the sufferings of every generation.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I am now going to prepare a place for you, so that where I am, you may be too.”
Let us never forget that we are united in an almost primeval need to belong, to be safe and to be loved. Here the Lord comes to meet us. This is the room that he has prepared with his Father, the room that he has opened to us in the power of his resurrection. It reaches beyond every fear, every division.
It is to this room, in the words of St Peter, that the Lord has called us out of darkness into his own wonderful light, uniting all as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation set apart to sing the praises of God.
Like Thomas, who claimed not to know where Jesus was leading, we are currently overwhelmed by the fears that we have for ourselves and those we love. Our anxieties are rooted in a fear that can see no way out. To us, as to Thomas, Jesus gives a reassurance that reaches beyond fear.
“I am the Way, the truth and the life. If you know me, you know my Father.”
Let us live daily in Christ, our way, our truth and our life.
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