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Homilies/Reflections

THEY BROKE DOWN THE WALLS. A reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter, Year A.
By Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko
Sun, 10 May 2020

Readings: Acts 6:1-7; 1Pet 2:4-9; Jn 14:1-112

     Today’s readings broaden the lessons that we all can learn of the early Church. In the new life of the resurrection, leading up to the Ascension and Pentecost, the early Church make such bold steps. They develop new ways of welcoming brothers and sisters, and of working for God by walking with one another in the work of Christ.

     The testimony that we receive today also remark the increase of numbers from all climes into the Church (first reading). These are the people who have come to recognize their need for God in setting themselves close to God’s mercy (second reading). They have become a renewed people, realizing the promises of Jesus that fear is removed through trust in God (the Gospel). In other words, we notice the presence of grace, effect, and power of divine love now able to break down the walls of hatred and clouds of mutual suspicion among peoples.

     As we hear of such ardent enthusiasm for the risen Lord, so we feel the gusto of divine energy against unbelief and indifference. Now the Church builds up her structures of community and raises the offices to counter the neglect of love. The dedication inspired by the Gospel has become a revolution against all forms of the lukewarmness of faith. More extensive than the reaches of Judaism and deep into the lands of the nations, the community of the Christian faith opens the windows wider for the renewal. The Church worked everyone joyfully back to God. The apostles as servant-leaders approved the office of Deacons, who spent themselves in charity, caring for all of God’s people.

      My brothers and sisters in Christ; this is the new life of the resurrection. And it is a praise-worthy example of dedication to God, solidarity, service, and love of one another, which set the early Church apart in their spiritual and practical lives. As we read today, the early Church became a clear sign of a chosen race of believers and a people set apart more by their excellent fruits in the society. Members of the Church made other people want to come to Jesus, know him more, and love him. They long to join the Christian community so that they, too, can offer praise and worship to God and prove this by the care that they show to one another.

      Furthermore, one of the challenges that often lead to despair in our Christian lives comes when we begin to lose grip on the teaching of our faith in Jesus. In other words, when we stop “being with” him: “Have I been with you all this time,’ Jesus says to Philip, ‘and you still do not know me? (Jn 14:9). The double mind that we show on matters of faith all begins to manifest when we lose our way with Jesus as to who Jesus is and what Jesus does. The way of Jesus never leads us to a superstar or a celebrity personality but the self-revelation of God. Therefore, the acceptance of Jesus as our way back to God as Father must open our way of life to the same selfless love and sacrifice of Jesus, leading even to death. It is the real way of “believing” in Jesus.

     As we proclaim in the early Church today, the echo of the risen life of Jesus is one calling us to live beyond the selfishness of our secular world and imitate the life of Jesus, who gave his life for us. Jesus talks to us about going to the Father because our faith in Jesus makes him our brother, and his death redeems us from dying eternally. Thus, the resurrection of Jesus assures and strengthens our faith in the resurrection, just as Jesus’ firm promises makes his Father our Father, and his God our God.

 

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