Sixth Sunday of Easter C: May 5, 2022
John 14: 23-29
Fr. John Tran
Imagine the members of the early Church trying to figure out how the church would work. We, too, are often preoccupied by the fact that even within the church we cannot agree on exactly how we are to live out the word of the Lord. Some may favor one style of liturgy over another; others may feel that we should not be involved in care of those outside the church, others feel that that indeed in our mission: the care of those in need no matter who they are; we may even disagree on which day we should celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. We should not be surprised by this since we see in the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, that from the very beginning there was disagreement among sincere people. In that reading, some could not imagine a church where the Law of Moses was not followed.
In St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he mentions several apparent disagreements in the early church: whether one day should be more holy than other days; he says that while there is nothing wrong with eating certain foods, if eating them causes a brother or sister to fall, we should avoid eating them. In today's first reading certain converts believed that all gentile christians should be circumcised in order to be saved. What to do?’
In John’s gospel today, we hear that we should not let our hearts be troubled because even though Jesus is going to his Father, he will send the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, to us to teach us everything and remind us what we should do. When the apostles were informed about the situation with circumcision, they gathered together and prayed to the Holy Spirit to ask for guidance. They were able then to decide which minimal parts of the Jewish Law should be observed to the exclusion of everything else.
If we take this to heart, we place our trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who did not leave us orphans. We welcome his Holy Spirit into our lives. With that said, we must also treat each other with the respect that Jesus would have. We realize that as on individual or even as a small group, we do not have all the answers. It is only in an atmosphere of respect and love that we can have no fear but the peace that Jesus offers. How many times in the past would this love and respect have eased tensions and perhaps prevented divisions? We can only guess. Difficult things may have to be discussed; but, each of us can be part of the peace of Jesus if we respect one another and see the Lord in each another. Then, our hearts need not be troubled.