5th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 14:19-28
Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against Paul and Barnabas. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him for dead. But when his disciples gathered around him, he stood up and returned to the town. And the next day he left for Derbe with Barnabas. After proclaiming the gospel in that town and making many disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and on to Antioch. They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.” In each church they appointed elders and, after praying and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had placed their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. They preached the Word in Perga and went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commended to God’s grace for the task they had now completed. On their arrival they gathered the Church together and told them all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the non-Jews. They spent a fairly long time there with the disciples.
Gospel: John 14:27-31
Jesus said to his disciples, “Peace be with you; I give you my peace. Not as the world gives peace do I give it to you. Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard me say: ‘I am going away, but I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
“I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen you may believe. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the ruler of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father and that I do what the Father has taught me to do.”
In the Scriptures peace is always much more than cessation of hostilities. It is a right relationship with God and with others. In this picture, there is no peace with God. But we often settle for less, calling it peace: if we are not actually fighting we say we are at peace. We always say that war “breaks out” implying it was always there, dormant, within us, just waiting to cross over into action. Why not talk about peace breaking out? Of course, it can only break out if it is first within us. But it is! “I give you my peace,” Jesus said in verse 27.
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