I share with you this reflection:
We see in our reading from Acts today that figuring out the proper rules for the church was a problem then, just as it remains a topic of discussion today. With prayer and discernment rooted in the Spirit, consultation with the leaders and then with the members, the early church developed a way of dealing with these disagreements. The question of circumcision was not a minor issue; it meant that Gentiles were coming to the church of Christ with-out first accepting the Jewish faith and practices. To dispense with circumcision meant acknowledging that the Christian faith was indeed something new, and open to all believers. The new teaching was promulgated in the name of all the members of the church, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. But this new teaching did not signify a rejection of the Jewish faith. The early Christians recognized the power of the Hebrew Scriptures, reading them with the eyes of Christian faith.
In the second reading, from Revelation, the new and holy city of Jerusalem includes the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The past is part of the future. And in the new and holy city, there is no need for a temple of stone or of earthly light, for all the temple we need is the heart of God, and all the light we need is the word of the Lamb of God. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of John today to remain in love with him. Jesus assures us that he will remain with us always, through the power of the Holy Spirit. That power will give each of us peace of heart and soul. The peace of Christ reminds us of where our hearts must be, always resting in God and in the love of Christ Jesus.
Peace is a gift given to the world, a gift each of us shares with another whenever we act in the name of the Lord. In the midst of division, war, and uncertainty, we can be people of peace by holding fast to the gifts we are given in baptism: faith in Christ, the power of the Spirit, and safety in the heart of God.
NEW ASSIGNMENT TO ST. JOHN
I am happy to announce that Rev. Peter Thi Van Hoang (who stayed here at St. John 5 or 6 years ago as a student) has been assigned to St. John as Parochial Vicar, effective July 1, 2016. Rev. Peter is presently at St. Joseph in Alameda.
Continued Easter Peace to you all,
Fr. Mike Lacey
On April 8, Pope Francis's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia was released for all to see. At the core of the document is a theme we've grown more intimate with this year: God's Mercy.
Amoris Laetitia addresses the key topics about marriage and family life from the 2014 and 2015 synods while providing opportunities for readers to reflect on God's mercy in relation. Pope Francis writes, "The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone forever; it is to pour out the balm of God's mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart" (AL 295).