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Fifth Sunday of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 9:26-31
Resp.: Psalm 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32 (26a) 2nd Reading: 1 John 3:18-24
Gospel: John 15: 18
There are times that I've asked – why are we doing things this way? And the usual answer was because we've always done it this way. There are at least two responses to that: if its working, lets continue but if we can do better, we need to change. This takes discernment. In the first reading, the disciples were afraid of Saul because of his past. They were used to avoiding him but now he is different and its taking time for him to be accepted.
The same is true for us when we change for the better. Some will begin to shun us while others will befriend us. God's grace in our lives necessitates changes. God is dynamic, which means we need to be changing quite often for the better. Change is usually what we avoid because it draws us out of our comfort zones – it causes anxiety. But if we trust, we do not need to fear.
In other words, we need to be pruned in order that we will bear more fruit. If change is difficult then pruning hurts. The problems is that we don't seem to mind when others are pruned but when it is me myself, then we have difficulties.
Its okay to hurt, its part of life, and we need to ask God to bring good out of all our pains. Its not okay to sin because of our hurts but we should allow God to make us stronger despite them. St Paul preferred bad treatment because he saw the benefit: when we suffer for being good, we are being like Jesus.
Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD