Reflection for Tuesday, May 30, 2000: 6th week in Easter.

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Pedersen, Cathy Weiss
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During the Easter season's readings from the Acts of the Apostles, I am reminded of my long ago Scripture professor. Sr. Marie Walter's passion for the Scriptures, especially the journeys of Paul and the other followers of Jesus, was contagious. Her excitement drew us into the stories and we came to know the adventures of the early Christian community intimately.|And so, as I reread the account of Paul and Silas' night in prison during the earthquake, I was instantaneously with them in their cell. Instead of escaping as soon as the gates flew open, Paul calls out to the jailer to not commit suicide out of despair that his prisoners had escaped. The jailer's fear of punishment due to the prisoners' supposed escape turns to curiosity and openness to whom and what Paul and Silas really were. One wonders what moved the jailer to move so quickly from utter despair (and possible suicide) to being willing to risk his career, life and family by taking Paul and Silas home, tending to their needs, welcoming baptism, and then including the disciples in a family meal celebration. Transformation has taken place ... from fear to investigation to a willingness to risk all for God. Something was happening!!!|In today's gospel, Jesus converses with his friends at the Passover meal. He comments on the disciples' reluctness to question him about his leaving them: " ... not one of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' Because I have said all these things, you are overcome with grief. Yet I tell you the sober truth; ... if I fail to go, the Sprit will never come to you." Surely these words confounded his friends. All they could grasp is that Jesus was telling them that soon he would no longer be with them; and yet, if he did not go, they would not have the Sprit with them. Of course, at this point in time, they could not grasp what the experience of the Sprit would be for them.|Both of these readings offer a look at two sides of the same coin - fear:|- Not trusting enough in ourselves (forgetting the Spirit within) to meet a challenge; and/or - Fearfully expecting that we have to solely depend on ourselves or others (forgetting the Spirit within all of us).|Fear can be a powerful block to our ability to be open to God's love and presence in us and in the lives and love of those around us.|How often have we held back, rather than share an insight or perspective with family, friends, or colleagues, because we couldn't/didn't trust the Spirit within?|How often might we cling to what we know, rather than risk the possibility that God's gifts/presence in us and in others would empower us/them to meet the challenges of the present and future? (As a parent, it is very difficult at times to 'let go' of my adult children, as they make decisions, and explore their evolving journeys of life.) When we believe that it all depends on us-and forget God's presence/Sprit within us and others, it can be scary ... almost immobilizing! We don't think we can/want to go on ... but then we 'let go' of the belief that it is ALL left up to us. We open to God's spirit/gift of life and love in ourselves and in those around us ... .and we CAN accomplish anything.|When fear rises up in us ... let's take a moment to remember that we are not alone. God's spirit is with us. As we approach the celebration of God's Spirit coming at Pentecost, let us remember to open ourselves in readiness ... and to not be afraid-for we are not alone.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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