Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 21, 2017
Have you ever been visited by representatives of a particular religion or church, going door-to-door to evangelize? While most of probably have, I suspect the reverse is not true. Rarely do Catholics engage in such face-to-face faith-sharing. I know I’m very shy about approaching a total stranger with a request to consider learning about Jesus.
Today’s Scripture selections continue our Easter instructions for the newly-baptized. The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, reflects how Christian witness might be received—persecution was a real threat for the Church in Jerusalem.
The First Letter of Peter seems to reflect a similar harsh reality. Peter urges Christians to approach others ready to explain who we are, but to do so with “gentleness and reverence.”
That reminds me of the advice that St. Francis of Assisi gave his brothers who were thinking of being missionaries. He told them to “avoid quarrels or disputes and to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake.” Francis was quoting from the First Letter of Peter. The letter goes on to encourage those fearful of persecution to remember that Christ also suffered persecution.
In the Gospel, Jesus himself assures us that we will not be alone; the Holy Spirit will be present with us, to support and guide us.