I mixed up a batch of bread dough as I was ‘taking in’ today’s readings. It’s a practice that has become part of my routine and almost a prayer discipline for me. I learned to make bread with a bowl and a spoon years ago when I spent a few months on a Catholic Worker Farm north of Detroit, Michigan. This week, a Creighton student came into my office after returning from a Spring Break Service Trip in Oklahoma City and asked if I would teach him to bake bread some time. That made me smile. Some of our trips are giving students encounters with people living simply, making space and time for the leavening agent of God’s persistent call to community and justice in our lives.
I feel the fervor of Christ’s risen life pulsing through the young Christian community that we read about in the Acts of the Apostles these days of Easter. The Apostles cannot not “teach in that name.” Confident in the God of their ancestors who raised Jesus, they risk witnessing to the New Way in uncomfortable places. They even stir up rage in the authorities threatened by their freedom and fidelity to this new way where mercy reigns and all are fed and welcomed. In today’s first reading, Peter tells the Sanhedrin “We must obey God rather than men.” I witnessed that confidence and holy boldness of Peter in Fr. Andy Alexander, S.J., in a talk he gave recently to representatives from parishes preparing to teach about, pray, and advocate for immigration reform. In many areas of our nation, believers are being tested to demonstrate Easter faith through service with and advocacy for those who, while drawn here by jobs, are left at the mercy of unscrupulous employers and terrorizing enforcers of laws that beg for reform.
Knead us Lord, to help the leaven of your word push us to grow as Easter people. Shape us into bold and beautiful communities that worry less about risk and more about making your mercy and justice palpable for all. Amen.
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