Today’s reflection is for the Second Sunday in Easter, April 19, 2020, and the readings can be found by clicking here.
A friend once told me, “If it’s not in the Bible, I don’t believe it! Show me it in the Bible if you want me to believe it.” Have you ever thought about how much is NOT in the Bible? Jesus never sleeps, never wakes up, never wipes his eyes and stretches. In three years of public ministry, Jesus never goes behind a bush, digs a hole, and does his business. “Whoa! Wait a second,” you might say, “That’s T.M.I.,” or too much information. And you would be absolutely right! In that case it’s way more information than we want, but in many other cases, the details would be far more information than we need.
The Gospels were not written to teach us everything about Jesus and the world, and the Church, and salvation. In fact, on more than one occasion Jesus says that his disciples couldn’t handle it (JN 16:12), or that it wasn’t the right time (MK 13:32), or that it just wasn’t their business (Acts 1:7). John’s Gospel today is very clear, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.”
Jesus did not need to tell them everything, because his plan was to send out his Holy Spirit, and it’s the role of the Holy Spirit to guide the church in every generation. As we journey through Easter toward Pentecost, our first reading comes not from the Old Testament, but rather the Acts of the Apostles. Acts gives us a glimpse of the ministry of the Apostles, the miracles done by the power of the Spirit, and the growth of the Church. Each week we hear how people came to believe, and were baptized, sometimes by the thousands!
Today we heard that, “Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved,” and the Spirit calls still today. I have had the pleasure this past year of speaking with the catechumens destined to be brought into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Sadly their entrance was delayed, but the call of the Holy Spirit still remains. Each day babies are born and the Spirit calls their parents to bring them into the Church, to clothe them with Christian dignity, and save their soul. Every year young people respond to the Spirit’s call to complete their baptism at Confirmation, husbands, like me, are called by the Spirit to serve the people of God through the Diaconate, men and women are called to religious orders by the same Spirit, and men are called to Holy Orders, whereby the Spirit calls them to forego marriage that they, with an undivided heart, might take the community of faith as their bride.
From Baptism to Holy Orders, we who do not have it all figured out, and are not quite sure how it will all pan out. We stand up and profess the faith of the Church nonetheless. With limited knowledge, and a heart filled with faith, we courageously follow the prompting of the voice of God within us. It reminds me a lot, actually, of when I joined the Marine Corps. We didn’t know the future, we just courageously stepped up to serve. And the Spirit calls each of us in the same way.
My friends, though we do not know it all, we do know what God has revealed by the Holy Spirit in due time, and we do know what we should do while we’re here. Acts teaches us that the early Church devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to living in community, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. They shared their wealth with others when various needs arose. They devoted themselves to meeting for religious activities and got together in each others’ homes. They were joyful and sincere, praised God, got along well with others, and were good neighbors. And so should we.
The Gospels do not have EVERYTHING we want to know, but what is written is so that we “may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief [we] may have life in his name.” And that’s all we need to know. Amen?
For YouTube video presentations of this and other reflections, please click here.