April 21, Fourth Sunday of Easter
We are his people, the sheep of his flock. — Psalm 110:3
Mass Readings: Acts 13:14,43-52/Revelation 7:9,14b-17/John 10:27-30
In today’s first reading, the local Jewish leaders confront a perceived threat from Paul and Barnabas. Their tactics in countering the preaching of the disciples — persecution, verbal abuse, political pressure and exclusion — help fan the controversy into a schism that will change history.
Of course our own age is not without controversy, sometimes violent, both between religions and within them. And this reading from Acts is instructive — for both sides — about the way not to handle conflict. Strikingly, neither “side” in this disagreement attempts dialog in a spirit of charity. The disciples, attacked, respond in kind, and happily leave town with a gesture of contempt, shaking the dust from their feet. Whatever their disagreement about the Messiah, neither the Jews nor the disciples follow their own most important commandments: Love God, love each other.
Prayer: God, You created us all. Remind us that we need each other.
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