Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 6:1-7; 1 Pet 2:4-9; Jn 14:1-12 (Year A)
The unfolding of the Scriptures during the Easter season continually leads us into a deeper understanding of our lives as lived with the Risen Lord. Thus the appointment of the first deacons in the Acts of the Apostles is more than an administrative detail; it speaks to the way in which we should be living our lives.
From the beginning the Apostles witnessed to Christ with a practical demonstration of his love. As he had loved them, so they reached out in love to a broken world. Like Christ himself, they fed the hungry, clothed the naked and brought comfort to a suffering world. By choosing deacons to share in this practical service of love, the Apostles were demonstrating the kind of communities our parishes should become.
We see this lively faith in many parishes, demonstrated in their practical outreach to the poor at home and abroad. We should never allow such involvement to become the concern of the few. Charity is not an optional extra; it is an imperative of the Lord. By choosing deacons, the Apostles called the wider community to share their witness. Without such selfless witness, our lives are lacking one of faith’s most distinguishing characteristics.
The First Letter of Peter, describing Christians as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood and consecrated nation”, brings further understanding to lives lived with the Risen Lord.
A priest is one who offers to God life’s abundant blessings. In offering himself to the Father on the Cross, Christ became the perfect high priest. Through his Resurrection, he invites us to share his priesthood. The whole of life, reaching far beyond outward liturgical celebration, is called to become the surrender, the offering, of ourselves to the Father. We are to live no longer for ourselves, but for Christ, and for those he has entrusted to us. All are called to this royal priesthood in Christ, our Risen Lord.
Jesus assured his disciples that this calling was not beyond them. He promised that he would be with them, especially when their hearts were troubled and afraid. Although they would frequently doubt themselves, fearing that they could never live up to his example, he reassured them with a promise beyond their frailty: “I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself.”
Let us commit our lives to him, whose power at work within us can achieve infinitely more than we could ask or even imagine.