Wednesday, April 27, 2016

God Chose You

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
By Beth DeCristofaro
Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. (Acts 15:7-9)
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  (John 15:9)
God of all Creation, thank you for life.  Help me to cherish and nurture the divine spark of your nature deep within myself and all your children.  
This chapter of Acts shows us discussions from the very early Council of Jerusalem.  The passionately debated question was whether Gentile believers needed to become Jews before baptized as Christians.  Even then, the need to identify the worthy, the real believers, the chosen, raged.  And so it does today.  Later in this chapter, the notes to the USCCB readings explain:  “In support of Paul, Peter formulates the fundamental meaning of the gospel: that all are invited to be saved through faith in the power of Christ.”[i]
Today, couched in political terms, the worth of refugees, disabled, homeless, impoverished, imprisoned peoples and more are debated.  Their worth as children of God becomes hidden beneath speeches of economics, security, nationalism.  Mother Theresa of Calcutta humbly and humanely pointed out: “This is where we are most unjust to our poor – we don’t know them.  We don’t know how great they are, how lovable, how hungry for that understanding love.  Today God loves the world through you and through me.  Are we that love and compassion?  God proves that Christ loves us- that he has come to be his Father’s compassion.  Today God is loving the world through you and through me and through all those who are his love and compassion in the world.”[ii]  Substitute for “poor” the word “radical” or “drug addict” or “single mother on welfare” “LGBT” or any number of other identifiers of people who are deemed to be frightening or leeching off society and the Word remains the same.  The Word is love.
Was it not humbling and amazing to meet the other people at your Cursillo table, or perhaps Team members with whom you served?  The stories of struggle, perseverance, tragedy and rebirth allow you to know each other in astoundingly deep ways.  Introduce yourself to someone new – the homeless man who lives near the parkway exit, the janitor in your workplace.  Tell them something of yourself then ask about her/him.  Have you ever met someone who does this?  She/he is a delight to be around.  Love spills from her/him.

[ii] “Total Surrender” quoted in “Give us this Day:  Daily Prayers for Today’s Catholic”, Liturgical Press, April 2016, pp. 254-255.

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