Daily Reflection – Apr 28, 2016
Thursday 28 April 2016
First Reading: Acts 15:7-21
Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations
Psalm 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 10
Gospel Reading: John 15:9-11
Today’s Note: Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete.”
Conflict resolution 101! After “much debate”, it is Peter who stands up to address the assembly. Referring to the vision of the sheet with unclean animals (Acts 10 and 11), he says that God chose him to witness the pouring out of the Spirit on the Gentile Cornelius and his household. Peter asks why Gentiles should bear the “yoke” of the Law since neither they nor their ancestors have been able to bear it. “On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” Peter shares his religious experience, not his thinking, his reasoning. “The whole assembly kept silence.” Silence is an important aspect of dialogue, so that opponents can really listen to the speaker, not be busy preparing a rebuttal. Then Paul and Barnabas share their experience of God at work with the Gentiles. Finally, the leader of the Jerusalem community, James, notes that “this agrees with the words of the prophets.” Notice: first the experiences are shared, then silence, then the application of Scripture.
Finally, the decision of the leader: “We should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to the Lord.” What joy, that all can be included! Then Jesus too speaks of joy. “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you…I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
When have you had an experience similar to that of this council of Jerusalem? When have you dared to share your religious experience? What happened next? How do you feel when someone shares her or his religious experience? How does your family or community or parish make decisions? How do you want them to? Notice the gospel: AS God loves Jesus, that much Jesus loves us! Remembering that God does not punish in our stead, does not want Jesus to be tortured to death, but absolutely and abundantly God loves Jesus. And, just that much does Jesus love us! Savor that reality. Return to it during the day.
Give words and wisdom to peace makers, negotiators on the global level; to counselors, pastors and parents on the personal level. May world peace and your joy increase through us. We can find you in all things, especially in the poor and vulnerable.