Acts 19: 1-8
In today’s readings we are treated to a truly dramatic scene in the growth of the Church under the power of God’s Holy Spirit. In the first reading, we catch a glimpse of the dynamic power of the Spirit as it energizes the missionary outreach of the first Christian communities.
It is a bit like reading the final chapter of the novel, to see how things are going to turn out. Then, in the Gospel reading, we return to the dramatic ups and downs that brought about the powerful ending.
The reading from the Gospel of John shows us Jesus instructing the apostles at the last supper, shortly before he begins the saving sacrifice of his Passion.
He speaks of their abandoning him, and of being scattered from one another.
They, like ourselves, are carried away by our dreams and ideals. We lose sight of the other side of the coin of our mortality. We also know moments of discouragement and outright failure. But Jesus never closes the door to us, he never leaves us to sorrow about our self-deceptions.
Into this very short excerpt from John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks a word to the apostles that means healing and hope. He tells them that they will have peace in Him. (Jn 16:33). It is a word that is becoming more and more a part of the pontificate of Pope Francis. Following the Pope’s recent trip to the Holy Land, he surprised all by inviting the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to "his home" to pray for and talk about peace. "I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer."
The more we can remember that it is the Spirit of God working in and through us, the more we will be a people of peace, a Church of peace, and citizens of peace. Our homes will be, with Pope Francis, a Bet Shalom.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Missions for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.