Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 5, 2024

May 5, 2024

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May 5, 2024

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Meghan

Meghan

Larsen-Reidy

Larsen-Reidy

I grew up in a very small town in rural Pennsylvania, where everyone knew each other.  My dad was a pillar of the community. He owned a small business, raised eight kids there with my mom, and was an active volunteer. Shortly after he died, the former postmaster in my hometown wrote a condolence note to my mom. He shared that he had moved to the area with his family to take over the job at the post office. After a long day of unpacking boxes, he took his young children out for ice cream as a reward. New to town, he found one of the few places still open after 5 pm.  After his kids ordered, he realized he did not have his wallet. He turned to his children to explain that they would need to run home to get money before they could eat their ice cream. My dad took notice of the situation and told the woman at the counter, “He’s with me.” He proceeded to pay for these strangers’ ice creams.  In a small town, it is easy to tell who is a newcomer or an outsider and to be leery of them. Yet, my dad just saw another dad who wanted to give his kids ice cream, and he chose to be welcoming.

I imagine my dad and Peter had the same mentality. In the first reading, when questioned why the Gentiles were there, I can hear Peter saying, “They’re with me.” God shows no partiality when it comes to love. We hear that the believers “who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also.” You can bet they asked, “Why them?” Now I can pretend I would have reacted better; however, I often fall into the trap of judging others.

Do you ever do the same? Who in your life do you struggle with and are astounded that they receive the same abundant love from God as everyone else? This person could be a relative – the one that gives you a pit in your stomach when their name pops up on your phone. This person could be the neighbor that always has a passive-aggressive remark about your lawn, your noise level, or your garbage bin placement.  It could also be the person next to you in the pew –the one who worships differently than you. At times, it may even be ourselves. Servant of God Dorothy Day reminds us all that, “I only really love God as much as the person I love the least.” God asks us to love all people regardless of who they are, and to apply love generously. Everybody is always welcome to this expansive love, even if our human reaction to others receiving this love gets in the way.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that love stems from a commitment. Jesus’ commandment is to form relationships – a relationship with God and relationships with people. Loving relationships require time and effort and are not always convenient. They ask us to prioritize the Divine and people over material possessions or appearances. This commitment to others and to God changes our actions. It effects how we spend our time, where we put our money, how we pray, how we care for our common home, and how we serve the most vulnerable. Jesus modeled this love throughout his life. He sat with the sick, dying, poor, outcast, lonely, and forgotten, and entered into relationship with them so they knew love. In turn, Jesus calls us to do the same.

Sometimes we get in our own way. The lure of wealth, power, knowledge, and prestige hinder our ability to love. David Brooks writes about the difference between résumé virtues and eulogy virtues. We often worry about appearing the best that we forget we should simply love the best.

When we open our eyes to see the expansiveness of God’s love in the people that surround us, we draw into a deeper relationship with the Divine. We cannot always anticipate the impact that each new relationship will have on our lives and vice versa.  God is calling us to be open to the love that is waiting for us and to share that love with others. Our small acts of love may make an impact that we only hear about from heaven.

First Reading

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

PSALM

Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4

Second Reading

1 Jn 4:7-10

GOSPEL

Jn 15:9-17
Read texts at usccb.org

Meghan Larsen-Reidy

Meghan Larsen-Reidy

Meghan Larsen-Reidy lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and four children. She currently works as a Campus Minister at three colleges in the Pittsburgh area. Before working in campus ministry, Meghan was a Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry at a parish in Pittsburgh. Meghan received a Masters of Arts in Teaching at the University of Portland and simultaneously did a service-teaching program. She spent three years teaching at the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks in Alaska. She currently attends the Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego where she is getting her Masters of Theological Studies in Franciscan Theology. She attended Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame where she received a BA in Religious Studies and credits much of her success to the leadership opportunities she had at an all women’s college.

Meghan is deeply passionate about building community wherever she lives and spends time serving her community. She is dedicated to raising awareness about food insecurity on college campuses and committed to ensuring that all students have access to basic needs. She serves on the ESTEEM board, coaches for Girls on the Run, and is an active volunteer for Saint Mary’s College.

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