May 22, 2022 - 6th Sunday of Easter
Jesus tells his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The peace that Jesus gives is far different than the kind that comes from the absence of war, conflict, or affliction. The peace that God offers is found alongside suffering and hardship, not necessarily in their absence. St. Teresa of Avila offers us a bit of wisdom regarding peace: “May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
In order for us to experience the divine peace that Jesus offers, we have to allow God’s presence to settle into our bones! It is only when this happens that we can be truly taught by the Holy Spirit to discern the true path to peace and find ourselves with untroubled hearts. The world and our lives are so unpredictable and changeable. If we look for a source of lasting and real peace only there, our search will never be satisfied. Something will always unsettle and disturb us. The Jewish disciples could really relate to what Jesus was saying about peace (shalom). They already knew that it was more a matter of achieving wholeness and wellbeing than anything else.
Wholeness and wellbeing are precisely what is uncovered when we begin to really see and know the height, depth, and breadth of God’s presence and promise. The elegance of God’s Divine life flows through our blood and the marrow in our bones. It is that close and deep. As we breathe in and exhale God’s life, peace becomes what we know within and what is exhaled out. This remains in the midst of intense conflict, persecution, suffering, rejection, and even death.
Management According to the Apostles
If you’ve ever worked in any kind of organization, for-profit or not-for-profit, I’m sure you have attended a conference or two. Whatever our expectations going in, I usually find these conferences expose me to communication and problem-solving styles that are different from my own, nudging me into a little unexpected self-discovery. And it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and do something different.
Here’s my idea for a leadership conference: The Management Style of the Apostles. Think about it, the only thing the Apostles had more abundantly than holiness was problems. Lots and lots of problems ... most of them of the human resources variety. It’s no small feat, starting Christ’s Church on earth. I wouldn’t want to be project manager of that endeavor.
The Acts of the Apostles is, in some ways, a big book full of problems and ways to solve them. It’s a blueprint for tackling interpersonal issues in the manner of a true steward, who encounters every problem starting from the same place: What would my Master want?
It’s a question we should be asking ourselves every time we, too, encounter a problem — especially problems relating to other people. What is the truth in this situation, and how would God have me communicate it? How could I handle this in a way that is worthy of the name of my Master?
In Acts, we see a lot of characteristics of everyday stewardship. We see the Apostles mindfully acknowledge the lack of peace that is posed by problems like false teachings, this Gospel’s problem du jour. They prayerfully confront the obstacles to salvation posed by these issues. Always, always, always, their main objective is to reveal the will of God, remaining committed to the truth while helping newcomers find avenues to salvation.
Maybe I'm just saying it because it’s my idea — but it sounds like a conference we could all use.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi
Monday: Acts 16:11-15/Ps 149:1b-6a, 9b/Jn 15:26—16:4a
Tuesday: Acts 16:22-34/Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8/Jn 16:5-11
Wednesday: Acts 17:15, 22—18:1/Ps 148:1-2, 11-14/Jn 16:12-15
Thursday: Ascension: Acts 1:1-11/Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9/Eph 1:17-23 or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23/Lk 24:46-53
Friday: Acts 18:9-18/Ps 47:2-7/Jn 16:20-23
Saturday: Acts 18:23-28/ Ps 47:2-3, 8-9, 10/Jn 16:23b-28
Next Sunday: Acts 7:55-60/Ps 97:1-2, 6-7, 9/Rv 22:12-14, 16-17, 20/Jn 17:20-26
Jesus wants you to love him so much that you will always do what he asks. Jesus knows that if you put God first, you will have peace. Instead of wanting more toys, you will be happy to share them. Instead of wanting to get your own way, you will enjoy taking turns. You will feel good helping other people.
Dear God, change my heart so that I want to put you and other people first.
Something to Draw
Draw a picture of yourself giving one of your own toys to a child who has none.
Mission for the Week
I will invite a friend over to play. I will share and take turns.
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Today’s reading offers an excerpt from the “dissension and debate” taking place at the first Church council in Jerusalem over the question of male circumcision.
How often do you experience conflict within your faith community?
One of John’s final visions depicts the heavenly Jerusalem where God’s presence is fully known in all its splendor.
Why do you think this vision of heaven was revealed to John?
During his farewell discourse, Jesus reassured the disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit and the promise of divine peace.
When do you experience God’s presence this way in your life?
God already has the solution.