Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles places us in the midst of the heated conversation on what is required to be a Christian. Some people felt that to be a follower of Christ, one first needed to be a Jew. This excluded many of the Gentiles who were coming to believe in Jesus, and forming Christian communities of their own. They were understandably concerned and upset that they were not being told they were not eligible to be followers of Jesus. Paul, Barnabas, and the other early leaders of the Church were primarily concerned with keeping their burgeoning flock together and living as Jesus instructed. It is important to remember that they were expecting Jesus to return any minute, and wanted Him to find His Church thriving and growing. They were not necessarily considering that they were setting precedents to last over two thousand years. Thankfully, they were not making these decisions on their own, but rather with the support and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Divisions such as the early Church experienced are sadly just as present in our world today. It is still all too easy to create “the other” and from that sense of otherness grows fear, contempt and even hate. I am sure that, like me, you are heart-broken by the recent news of the tragic mass shooting in Buffalo, NY and the ongoing news of atrocities in the barbaric and senseless war in Ukraine. These are only two instances where hate and division have seemed to overwhelm Jesus’ commandment to love another. We may ask ourselves what remedy we can bring to bear in such devastating circumstances?
One answer is found in today’s Gospel. Jesus gives His disciples His peace, a peace unlike anything the world has to offer. This peace begins in our own hearts, and comes from our relationship with the God of love. When we embrace and share this peace, we are strengthened to grow past division in all its forms.
I wish you and your loved ones continued Easter blessings of good health, new hope and true peace. Please join me in continuing to pray, and to work, for peace and healing in our world,
Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.