GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY -14TH MAY 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 14TH MAY 2017
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
FIRST READING: Acts 6:1-7
PSALM: Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
SECOND READING: 1Peter 2:4-9
GOSPEL: John 14:1-12
THEME: THE FATHER’S HOUSE
It is said that a home is built not with cement and iron rods but with love. After a walk in the cold rain, one looks forward to a home where the warmth of love awaits him or her. A major reason why people stay or leave a church is often not because of doctrines but whether they find a “home” or not.
The early Christian community was a spiritual home in many ways. They owned everything in common. Individuals, for example, would sell their goods and possessions and distribute the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed. With one heart, they would go to the Temple and then meet in their houses for the breaking of bread. They would share their food gladly and generously. It was a community characterised by love; and since love attracts, no wonder their numbers kept growing (cf. Acts 2:44-47).
At the very beginning, the early Christian community was made up of two groups of Jews: The first group – the Hebrews – were those who had lived all their lives in Palestine. In their synagogues, the Scriptures were read in Hebrew. The second group – the Hellenists – were Jews who had been born and brought up abroad, in a predominantly Greek environment. Moreover, they did not adhere to some of the “traditions of the fathers” that the Hebrews held on to.
The misunderstanding that arose between the Hebrews and the Hellenists, as narrated in our First Reading, nearly marred the welcoming home that characterised the early Christian community. The leadership of the community were wise and immediately sought to rectify the problem by appointing seven men of good reputation, filled with the Holy Spirit and with wisdom.
Jesus speaks of his “Father’s house” in his farewell speech at the Last Supper as narrated in our Gospel text. He says, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn. 14:2). The additional statement, “And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn. 14:3), gives this “house” a heavenly character.
The Christian community on earth – the Church – is called upon to be a reflection of the heavenly house of the Father. In other words, it is called upon to be a dwelling place for God’s people. Thus in our Second Reading, the author writes, “Like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). What it means is that we each have a responsibility towards making the House of God a spiritual home. Where there is backbiting, jealousy, misunderstanding and antagonism, we distort the image of the Father’s House. On the other hand, where there is kindness, gentleness, selflessness, etc, we make visible what the House of God really looks like.
Perhaps, it would be good for each one of us to ask him/herself: Do my words and works bring harmony and life to the community of believers? Am I contributing towards making the House of the Father a home? Am I a living stone?
There is enough room for all in the House of the Father. God calls us home to experience His love and to offer this love to all humankind.
PRAYER: Eternal Father, may the love which you have poured into our hearts make us living stones and use us to build your spiritual house. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).