Of all the promises Jesus gave to his disciples, sometimes I find the one at the end of today's Gospel to be the most amazing of all. Jesus tells his disciples that they would do greater works than he did. What could be greater than walking on water, curing a blind man, raising the dead, or feeding five thousand people with only a few loaves of bread? First, we have to ask what Jesus would think is greater. The apostles performed many miracles because of their faith in the Lord. They cured the sick, and Peter even brought a dead woman back to life (Acts 9:40). But even these signs are not greater than what Jesus did. No, Jesus meant greater in the sense of the true work of a disciple. The disciples started right after Pentecost, when they received the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter went outside and began preaching to the people, resulting in three thousand people being baptized. I wonder if we have that same kind of trust in Jesus that the apostles had. Maybe we have to start like they did. They talked about their experience of finding the empty tomb. They prayed, they discussed what had happened, and they looked for Jesus to appear to them. We can do those same things. We can talk about our faith with our families or in a parish discussion group. We can pray to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit and to see Jesus in other people. And we can look for God to act in our lives so that we can share God's love, which has been given to us, with those who do not know the Lord.
Tom Schmidt, Copyright (c) J. S. Paluch Co.
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Throughout the Easter season, we hear the story of the earliest Christian communities in readings from the Acts of the Apostles. We hear how the people grappled with what it meant to place their faith and trust in the Lord, understanding that doing so called them to live differently—to follow Jesus’ way of love. This is more than a history lesson for us. As we hear how the people were drawn to Christ and learned to follow Jesus, we are invited to ask ourselves how fully we are taking the gospel to heart. Is Jesus our way, truth, and life? Do our daily actions announce the praises of the Lord?