May 10, Easter 5 A

I am struck by the relevance of the readings during this Easter Season in light of our pandemic crisis. It makes sense if we remember that the apostolic was in fact in a state of crisis on a number of fronts at the same, and yet, the Holy Spirit led them through it all. People are always the same!

The apostolic church almost immediately began to experience martyrdom and persecution. They had to figure their way out of an ethnic faith experience into a Graeco-Roman cosmopolitan orientation. At the very outset there were disputes about sharing Eucharist, about mission, about structure, about Jesus, and the list goes on and on. They argued and disputed which texts were inspired by the Spirit and which were not essential to salvation. It was in some sense a very exciting and remarkable time to be in the Church.

They dealt with these various crises just as we are dealing with our own crises of faith today. First and foremost, they prayed and they listened to the Spirit by testing the Spirit. Second they reached agreement by listening to one another, and especially to the apostles themselves. Thirdly, they continued to grow and develop the core mission of preaching even as things were unsettled. One of things they did not have to deal with were the “stick in the muds” we-always-did-it-this-way crowd of traditonaslists. And they certainly didn’t have to deal with the vulgar language, Latin.

A crises is presented in each reading this coming Sunday, and we are given how the Church resolved the matter. This is a consolation for ourselves that the Holy Spirit is with us even until today. This does not mean, however, that we can jest rest on our haunches and wait for the Spirit to take care of things in our favor. It does mean that we get up and do the right things about all that is before us. The passive, lisping Catholic of 18th century pieties has no place in the modern world.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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