6th Sunday of Easter
This weekend is Saturday the 16 May and Sunday the 17th of May, beginning the 6th week of Easter.
The community of Taizé sing, Jésus le Christ: ‘Jesus Christ, inner light, do not let my darkness speak to me. Jesus Christ, inner light, let me welcome your love.’
In this weekend’s Scripture, the apostle Peter counsels the first Christians on how to comport themselves in the pagan world of the first century. I live in a different context, but in my world too there are many who do not yet know Christ and his Church. I ask for the grace to internalize the apostolic attitudes that St. Peter counsels.
1 Peter 3 : 15-18
'...but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit...
Perhaps a family member, a colleague, or a friend has at some point asked about my Christian faith. What was my response at that time? Was I happy to answer? Or was I rather confused or embarrassed? How would I like to have responded?
“ . . . . do it with gentleness and reverence.” The areas where faith touches our lives are always sensitive. And sometimes we bear scars or wounds from our pasts. In my own conversations with others, do I respect the sacred nature of this contact? Do I know how to touch with gentleness?
“ . . . to suffer for doing good.” St. Peter speaks of a reality I might like to avoid. Even if my own conduct is good, I may be misunderstood, even persecuted. Am I prepared to accept this as an imitation of Christ, who “suffered for sins”? Am I willing to leave the effectiveness of my witness in his hands, to trust him for the outcome of my efforts?
I listen to Peter’s counsel again, as one listens to the advice of a spiritual Father.
I allow God’s Spirit to touch my memories, showing me where I can grow in my dealings with others. I allow God’s spirit to touch my will, inspiring me with resolutions for the future. I thank God for what he has and will do through me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.