We now enter the 3rd week of the Easter season, and over these past few weeks we have been hearing stories from the Acts of the Apostles. Acts tells the story of how the earliest followers of Jesus made their way in the world, fearlessly proclaiming their experience of the risen Christ. In the daily mass reading from this past Tuesday, we hear from chapter 4 of Acts that “with great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord.” These apostles, once so fearful and closed in, now fearlessly proclaim their experience of having seen the Lord, and this experience has changed them to the core. The reading from Acts goes on to say that “there was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:34) which gives us a picture of this early, developing Christian community and tells us that part of their experience of following the risen Lord was to pay attention to those
around them: who was in need, and how to respond. Just these few lines from Acts tell us that following the risen Lord leads, naturally, to paying attention to the greater world around us. “Seeing Jesus” or “experiencing Jesus” or “adoring Jesus” – powerful though it can be – can never be separated from what it means to pay attention to the human person in front of us.
Francis of Assisi knew this himself, moving from an encounter with the risen Lord in a small, abandoned chapel outside the walls of Assisi, to an engagement with a suffering, wider world around him. One leads to the other, and it is not always easy, but comes to us only by freely given grace. That grace is found in abundance here at St. Francis.
Let me say thank you again to all who continue to support our parish in different and important ways, and thank you to all who have signed up for Faith Direct which is our online giving program, or who have continued to mail in envelopes during these strange and uncertain times. Our parish offertory has declined, but many people continue to support us by their donations. Thank you for that.
Blessings on your week!