May 21, 2017
Sixth Sunday of Easter
The crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip.
“The medium is the message.” Today’s readings remind me of these well-known words of Marshall McLuhan. Jesus’ life was both his medium and his message. Moreover, through the Advocate that Jesus gave to us, our lives, too, can become medium and message.
We hear in Acts, that the crowds paid attention to what Philip was saying. They believed because of what they heard and saw – unclean spirits left and the paralyzed and crippled people were cured. Philip was both medium and message, and the Samarians were filled with joy! Yet, the apostles realized that there was more. Peter and John went to lay hands upon them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. Imbued with the Spirit, they now were not only recipients but also bearers of the message.
We, too, are both recipients and bearers of the message. Today’s second reading from Peter tells us how we are to deliver that message, namely with gentleness and reverence. It is not only what we say but also how we say it that is important. How we live, how we present ourselves, how we allow the Spirit to be visible through us is an integral part of our response to the call to be Jesus’ continuing, reconciling presence in this world. Our lives are both medium and message.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises that he will not leave us orphans – “you are in me and I in you.” Jesus is with us, within us, around us. It is the journey of a lifetime to realize the truth and the import of this amazing gift and trust!
In these times, when there is so much pain and division in our country and around our world, it can be particularly challenging to maintain the conviction that we are not orphans. Yet, in our brightest days and our darkest nights, we must “be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks [us] for a reason for [our] hope.” We must proclaim with gentleness and reverence our belief and trust in the unseen presence of the Spirit. Through the Spirit, the lives we live and the words we speak do have the power to bring peace and healing to our world even though we may never see the results. This Spirit who can use our lives as both medium and message is our source of hope.
Sr. Janice Bader, C.PP.S.
May 21, 2017