Saturday, May 05, 2012
May 5, 2012
Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. Acts 13:48b-51
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:10c-12
Father, help us to hear your Word and accept it with joy as the Gentiles did. As your Word dwells in us, help us to take the next step and put it to work in the modern world strengthened by the gifts of the Spirit. Amen.
So if virtually the same Gospel is repeated from two days ago, it must be really important for the lessons that this reading holds…but in what way.
On Thursday, the Good News passage from John was nearly identical to this message and it struck me as a reaffirmation of our pursuit of the Cursillo tripod of piety, study and action. Today, teamed up with the first reading from Acts casts these words in a different light.
In Acts, the Jews reject the preaching of Paul and expel him from their community. So Paul takes his message to the Gentiles -- a people who rejoice in the words that they learn. Just like the Jews of Paul's day, we have in our hands and minds the ability to accept the challenge of the Gospel or reject it.
Our culture provides us countless opportunities to reject the Gospel with its easy temptations to be lazy. We can easily sit behind the wheel of our cars, in front of the boob tube, or give in to our workaholic/shopaholic/alcoholic/foodaholic society. It is easy to go along with what others are dong and not think about the Gospel every day.
By our inaction, we reject the teaching and the life of Christ. Maybe we are not actually nailing His hands to the cross or expelling Paul from Antioch. However, the Father will not dwell and grow in us unless we cultivate that growth. We must be careful not to let the weeds of modern society cut us off from life in the Father.
What pruning can you do in your life to continue to grow closer to the Father?
Consider spring cleaning for life. Just as you might clean out a closet or bookcase and donate your surplus clothing and household items to a charity or thrift shop, what can you do to clean out your mind from the messages of consumerism that invade it constantly trying to choke out the Word of God?
Take an hour today to go through your proverbial closet and see what practices you can toss out in order to make more room for the Father to dwell in you. And if you choose to physically clean out a closet, consider making a gift of household items and furniture to A Wider Circle (http://www.awidercircle.org/). This nonprofit organization will use your excess to help struggling families get back on their feet.