Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
May 28th, 2011
Daniel Patrick O'Reilly

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Saturday in the Fifth Week of Easter
[290] Acts 16:1-10
Psalm 100:1b-2, 3, 5
John 15:18-21

Today’s scripture readings speak of how the world receives the Good News of Jesus and the diversity of those who spread (and receive) that Good News.  In Acts we hear a litany of early believers.  Jewish, Greek, male, female, circumcised, uncircumcised, from Lystra to Iconium to Jerusalem.  A diverse lot.  The psalmist proclaims, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands.”  And in John, Jesus warns the disciples that, because Jesus has chosen them, the world may hate them.  “They will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.” Jesus does not promise a rose garden for those who follow him. 

Around Easter, someone said to me that Jesus dying on the cross was foolishness and made no sense whatsoever.  I said it made sense to me.  They said it was misguided and worthless.  I said it was of great value to me.  I asked them if they could think of anything of value in their life that had not required some sort of sacrifice.  I said that Christ’s sacrifice had given me a fuller life with meaning and purpose.  Through Christ’s demonstration of love, I felt I could have a relationship with God.  Through Christ’s model and commands, I have a desire to love and serve God and man.  I came away from the conversation feeling frustrated and angry.  I’m sure I came across as foolish.  Why didn’t I have the right words?  I felt that I had failed in conveying the Good News to someone in need of the Good News.

On Easter Sunday my family made our normal Sunday sojourn to church and took a seat.  As I looked at the people in the pew in front of me, I realized I knew each one of them.  I also knew some things about them.  A divorcee, an elderly gentleman recently widowed, a prodigal son, a woman whose son would be sentenced to jail that week, a young man who had kicked a drug habit, a woman who had been involved in a car-train accident.  What a lot we are.  What a broken people we are.  Some of us have scars that everyone sees and some of us manage to hide our scars from the world.  We’re still broken. 

I looked at my family beside me.  I love them with all my heart, but I know they aren’t perfect.  If they were perfect they would not need my love.  If they were perfect, my love for them would cost me nothing.  But they aren’t perfect.  They have troubles, quirks, problems, needs, wounds and scars.  Just like me and just like every other human being on the planet.  And this means, in order for me to love them, it will cost me.  It will require some sort of sacrifice.  My hope is that my love and sacrifice will be life-changing for them.

I looked at the cross and thought, “what an incredible gift we have been given.”  Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t because we are all perfect and deserving.  Just the opposite.  If we want a fuller life, this is something we need.  This is the cost of our joy.  We are a people in need and this is the emblem of God’s love for us. 

My prayer today is for those of us who struggle to comprehend Christ’s sacrifice and how to convey that Good News to a needy world.

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